China releases artist Ai Weiwei – an important development for artists and artistic freedom everywhere. Statement from Alyson Kayman, director of Ai Weiwei:
On Wednesday night, June 22nd at 10:15 pm Beijing time, Xinhua produced a statement that Ai Weiwei had been released on bail because of “his good attitude in confessing crimes as well as a chronic disease he suffers from.” Hours later, Ai had returned to his home-studio compound in northeastern Beijing and responded to a flurry of text messages and phone calls. He has told the Guardian and other media outlets that he is “fine” and happy to be home. The first photos of Weiwei following his release appeared in the New York Times. The conditions of Weiwei’s release have yet to be confirmed, but Weiwei’s legal counsel, Liu Xiaoyuan, did suggest over Twitter that the artist would not be allowed to exit Beijing city limits. Weiwei himself has stated that he will not be allowed to conduct interviews or use social media for at least “one year.” Many have speculated about the timing of Weiwei’s release, which occurred just days before Wen Jiabao’s visit to Hungary, Germany and Britain, countries that have been particularly critical of Weiwei’s extrajudicial detention.