China frees dissident artist Ai Weiwei

BEIJING, (Reuters) – The dissident Chinese artist Ai  Weiwei, whose detention in April ignited an international  uproar, was released on bail today, state media and his  sister said.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said the artist was  freed “because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes as  well as a chronic disease he suffers from”.
A company that police said Ai controlled “was found to have  evaded a huge amount of taxes and intentionally destroyed  accounting documents,” police said, according to Xinhua.
“The decision comes also in consideration of the fact that  Ai has repeatedly said he is willing to pay the taxes he  evaded,” said the report.
China’s courts and police are controlled by the ruling  Communist Party and it is unusual, but not unprecedented, for  authorities to back away from a potential prosecution in a  high-profile case like this.
Ai’s sister, Gao Ge, confirmed his release.

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