Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ai Weiwei Free, Sort Of

If you've been up on your news concerning efforts to introduce or increase freedoms in China, you know the name Ai Weiwei. Weiwei is an artist, China's most famous (you know him as the guy who designed the Bird's Nest, the main stadium from the 2008 Olympics), who has been critical of the Chinese government, most notably over mishandling of the Sichuan earthquake, also in 2008. Over the past three months, Weiwei has been held on what many believe to be spurious-at-best charges of tax evasion. The rest of the world is certain that Weiwei's detention is just a way to silence a prominent critic, and China has been raked over the coals for it.

Well, today Weiwei has been released from his detention. He's not completely free, though. As he put it after his release, "I’m released, I’m home, I’m fine. In legal terms, I’m — how do you say — on bail. So I cannot give any interviews. But I’m fine."

Basically, China gets to monitor him for a year, place restrictions on his behavior, and hang on to his travel documents. Should they deem him to have violated those restrictions, he could be reimprisoned. But, for now, he's out of the hoosegow.

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