Chinese Dissident Artist Ai WeiWei Released The Chinese government has released internationally renowned artist Ai WeiWei on bail. He was seized by authorities on April 3 as he was about to board an international flight and charged with unspecified "economic crimes." Xinhua news agency reports that he was released on bail because of "his good attitude in confessing his crimes."

Chinese Dissident Artist Ai WeiWei Released

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NPR's Rob Gifford has the story from Shanghai.

ROB GIFFORD: One of the conditions of his bail is not to talk to the press. But before Ai WeiWei arrived at his home tonight, his mother, Gao Ying, spoke briefly to NPR.

GAO YING: (Through Translator) Just now, about 10 minutes ago, they called and told us that Xinhua News Agency has an article saying WeiWei is out on bail. But I haven't seen WeiWei yet. He hasn't come home yet. The specifics I don't know, but I think we'll keep waiting.

GIFFORD: China watcher Jeffrey Wasserstrom, of the University of California at Irvine, says that Ai WeiWei was certainly the most prominent of the many artists, human rights lawyers and Christian activists to be detained.

JEFFREY WASSERSTROM: Ai WeiWei was the most visible symbol of what was just a general chill from the lead up immediately up to the Olympics, all the way on up till now we've just seen a tendency toward a tightening of zones of freedom.

GIFFORD: Jeffrey Wasserstrom says Chinese politics are so opaque that it's extremely hard to know the reasons that anything happens.

WASSERSTROM: Of course, there's a desire for news coverage of China to be more upbeat at the moment, as the big celebration of the party's 90th birthday is coming up on July 1st. But I think it's foolish to assume that these kinds of moves are too rational.

GIFFORD: Rob Gifford, NPR News, Shanghai.

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