Ai Weiwei released

"Confession" over tax evasion and ill health led to release, Xinhua news agency report.

Chinese State media have released a statement saying that the artist Ai Weiwei has been released, having reportedly confessed to crimes.

The internationally renowned artist and political activist was arrested at Beijing Airport on 3 April, and has been held in a secret location without access to a lawyer.

Xinhua news agency has reported that a confession of tax evasion, and Ai's poor health were both factors in his release. No current whereabouts were given, and his family have not been formally notified.

The report adds that "Ai has shown a good attitude in confessing his crimes" and he reportedly pledged to pay back taxes he owed, having been linked to a company called "Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd" that owed a "huge amount" of tax.

No information was given about any of Ai's colleagues, who went missing at the same time.

Ai Weiwei's contemporary art sculptures Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is currently on display in the courtyard of Somerset House, and an exhibition of his work at the Lisson Gallery runs until July 16.

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink