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Despite Gag Order, Details Emerge About Ai Weiwei’s Bail Requirements and Alleged Crimes

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Following artist Ai Weiwei‘s release from a three-month detainment by Chinese authorities last week, details have slowly emerged about the stipulations of his freedom. It was understood that there was already some form of media gag order in place when reporters swarmed the artist upon his late night release. Usually outspoken, particularly at times against the government, Weiwei was tight lipped, saying not much more than “I can say I’m out. I’m on bail.” Reuters is now reporting that they have learned that the artist is under tight lock and key when it comes to speaking to the media. He is “not allowed to post anything on Twitter or accept interviews for a year.” Furthermore, they report that he is not allowed to travel outside of Beijing. And while he is apparently able to travel within China’s capital city, he must check in with authorities first, much like a parolee, letting them know where he’s going to be. As for the “financial crimes” the government eventually gave as the reason for his original detainment, the NY Times reports that “two tax bureau officials came to the door of his studio on Monday” bearing documents that demanded he pay roughly $2 million in unpaid taxes and fines. However, it appears that the detainment didn’t break Weiwei completely, as his visiting wife had once said during the one visit she was allowed during his imprisonment. The paper reports that he is refusing to sign the tax documents until is accountant and two of his other staff members are released from detainment. Furthermore, he later spoke to the Times by cell phone, saying he “did not agree with the figures contained in the documents, but he declined to elaborate.”

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