Released Chinese Artist-Activist Ai Weiwei’s Associates Freed After Ai’s Release

BEIJING (REUTERS).- Four associates of Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei detained along with him in a controversial case were freed after Ai’s release, friends of the artist said on Saturday. The four included journalist Wen Tao, detained along with Ai in early April when the two were at Beijing airport heading to Hong Kong, said Liu Yanping, a volunteer worker involved in Ai’s campaigning on rights issues. “All of the people connected to the case have been released,” Liu told Reuters by telephone. “That’s a big relief. But I do think the Ai Weiwei studio’s work will remain suspended for now,” she said, adding that she was referring to Ai’s politically-charged activism, not to his artistic work. The detention of Ai and his associates marked the start of the contentious case which the Chinese government said was about suspected tax evasion, while Ai’s family and