Renowned Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Free After Confessing to Tax Evasion, Stays Quiet

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BEIJING (REUTERS).- The dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose detention in April ignited an international uproar, was released on bail Wednesday under conditions likely to keep the outspoken critic of Communist Party controls silent for now. “I can’t say anything more, because I’m on bail,” Ai told reporters who had gathered outside his home after his release was reported by China’s official Xinhua news agency. His abrupt release came days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao heads to Europe, where Berlin and other capitals have been critical of Beijing’s secretive detention of Ai and dozens of other rights advocates, lawyers and dissidents. But the Chinese government cast its apparent backdown as a vindication of their controversial case. Xinhua said Ai was freed “because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes as well as a chronic disease he suffers from,” citing the police. A company that police said he controlled “was found to have evaded a huge amount of taxes and in