Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was granted bail last night. The 52 year old has been in police custody for over two and a half months charged with ‘economic crimes’. According to police officials, he was released ‘because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes’ and because of chronic illness. (Ai suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes).
The news comes on the eve of a major European trip by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao during which leaders were expected to press the case for the artist’s release. Speaking from his studio in North Beijing, the noticeably thinner artist (who cannot leave the city without police permission) stated; “I’m back with my family. I’m very happy” but, due to his bail conditions, made no further comment about his detainment.
Several of Ai’s friends and colleagues are still missing.