Artist and political activist Ai Weiwei has been released by Chinese authorities after more than two and a half months of detention.


police said they released Weiwei on bail "because of his good attitude in

confessing his crimes" and because he has a chronic illness, state media reported.

The artist's detention on April 3 sparked an international outcry. He vanished after he was detained by police at Beijing airport.

It was later revelaed he was held on suspicion of economic crimes, but police did not notify his family of detention.


Xinhua report added: "The decision comes also in consideration of the

fact that Ai has repeatedly said he is willing to pay the taxes he

evaded," police said.

"The Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd,

a company Ai controlled, was found to have evaded a huge amount of

taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents."

The article gave no details of what has happened to several friends and colleagues of Ai, who went missing shortly after him.


family said they had only heard of his release through the media.

Nicholas Bequelin, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, welcomed news of the 54-year-old artist's release.


detention was political and his release is political. It is the result

of a huge domestic and international outcry that forced the government

to this resolution … I think Beijing realised how damaging it was to

hold China's most famous artist in detention," he said.


said he expected Ai to be allowed to return home, but that he would

probably not be allowed to travel abroad without official permission

and would have to report to police regularly.

The Chinese

government has said that Ai was arrested for for economic crimes,

although his family believe it was retaliation for his social and

political activism.