China releases dissident Ai Weiwei on bail

China releases dissident Ai Weiwei on bail

The Beijing police department said today that Ai, 53, who was arrested for not paying taxes has confessed his crimes and offered to pay the dues.

The maverick artist, who co-designed the famous Birds Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics also suffered from chronic disease, which prompted government to take a lenient view.

The decision comes also in consideration of the fact that Ai has repeatedly said he is willing to pay the taxes which he evaded, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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, it quoted police as saying.

Ever since he was taken into custody, China staved off international criticism asserting that he was detained for investigations into economic crimes.

Ai's detention drew condemnation from the United States, France, Germany, Britain, the European Union, Australia and rights groups.

Chinese Foreign Ministry stone walled criticism stating that Ai's detention has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression.

Ai, who has emerged as a most vociferous critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party in the past two years went missing in the first week of April when border police stopped him at Beijing's airport.

Later the state-controlled newspaper the Global Times said that he crossed the red lines.
"Ai Weiwei does as he pleases and often does what others dare not. He himself probably realised that he was never far away from the red line of Chinese law. So long as Ai continued, it was possible that he would breach the line one day," it said.

Ai's mother, 77-year-old writer Gao Ying, voiced fears about her son's fate.

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