Ai Weiwei, the internationally acclaimed Chinese artist and outspoken political activist, was released Wednesday on bail after confessing to tax evasion charges.
According to official Chinese news agency, his release comes as a result of his agreement to pay the taxes. His good attitude and chronic illness were also cited as factors in the sudden release.
Weiwei's company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, was reported to have destroyed account documents and evaded large amounts of taxes.
The April 3 arrest came at a time of a particularly tough crackdown, the last of which was seen before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Other victims of China's unclear arrest policy include 2010 Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiabao, who was sentenced to eleven years in prison for political incitement.
Weiwei, like countless other dissidents and human rights activists, had been held without a word regarding his whereabouts or status. When, after his initial disappearance, it was finally revealed that he was in police custody, there was still no information as to the allegations against him or the estimated length of his detainment.
The Jasmine Revolution, the Asian counterpart to the revolutions that continue to sweep the Middle East, is both a response to and a cause of the surge in arrests across China. Many activists involved in the protests have been arrested, but others seem to have evaded both the police and Chinese internet censorship to help bring attention to Weiwei's plight.
Free Ai Weiwei, a website dedicated to protesting the detainment of the much admired dissident, urges visitors to stand against the 'injustice,' Support Ai Weiwei, another group created in solidarity with the artist, was promoting a Thursday afternoon vigil on his behalf near the Zodiac Heads Sculpture at the Plaza that he designed.
Although the arrest did not spark quite the public outcry that many might have hoped for, international NGOs like Amnesty International and various diplomats had criticized the detainment and called for his release.
Ai Weiwei is now on probation and unable to speak about the terms of his release or share any information about the two and a half months he spent in custody.