Ai Weiwei freed on Bail, Hu Jia to be freed on Sunday

Ai Weiwei (艾未未) has been freed on bail, reports Xinhua, quoted by sina.com‘s finance news website (新浪财经). Investigations to date had revealed that Ai Weiwei’s company (北京发课文化发展有限公司) had evaded huge amounts of tax payments and intentionally destroyed vouchers. Ai Weiwei had shown “a good attitude” in that he had pleaded guilty, and given that he was suffering from chronic disease, and demonstrated willingness to actively settle the outstanding tax bills, he had, in accordance with the law, been released on bail.

Taiwan’s newsagency CNA quotes Ai’s older sister Gao Ge (高阁) as saying that Ai had returned to his home in Beijing, and that his health was not too bad, although he had lost some weight. Chinese authorities had hinted that Ai had evaded taxes on a massive scale (中國當局暗示他涉及逃漏鉅額稅款).

Ai said in a telephone converstation with the BBC on Wednesday that he was now at his home in Beijing – “I can’t talk to media but I am well, thanks for all the media attention”.

Amnesty International, also in a statement on Wednesday, said that

Ai Weiwei’s release on bail by the Chinese government must not ease the international outcry about other activists detained during this year’s ‘Jasmine’ crackdown.

Ai’s release is said to be coinciding with visits by China’s chief state councillor Wen Jiabao to Britain and Germany, and Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia Pacific, is quoted by AI’s website as saying that the human rights campaigner’s release could be seen

as a tokenistic move by the government to deflect mounting criticism. […] “It is vital that the international outcry over Ai Weiwei be extended to those activists still languishing in secret detention or charged with inciting subversion.”

Meantime, AIDS campaigner Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) visited her husband Hu Jia (胡佳) at Beijing Municipal Prison on Monday, she told Associated Press (AP) in an online conversation, as her mobile phone was apparently switched off.

Hu’s three-and-a-half-year jail term is due to end on Sunday, but other dissidents released from jail recently have been kept under house arrest, according to AP, as quoted by the Guardian.

Zeng wasn’t prepared to give interviews, possibly for fear that speaking to the foreign media might jeopardise Hu’s release, writes AP.

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Related
» Comments – Zeng returns to Beijing, June 2011

Updates / Related
» The Crackdown continues (“tax issues”), Nov 16, 2010

Related Tags
» Ai Weiwei
» Hu Jia
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