Spindelegger: Relief over Ai Weiwei’s return home
Vienna, 24 June 2011 – “The fact that Ai Weiwei has been allowed to return to his family after 80 days of fear and uncertainty is a first positive step,” said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger.
During his stay in Beijing last February, Spindelegger had paid the artist a personal visit in Beijing’s artist district Caochangdi. Following Weiwei’s disappearance on 3 April, Spindelegger had repeatedly and openly demanded his release. On 22 June, the artist was released on bail and according to his own words was not allowed to make public statements or leave Beijing without official permission.
“In assessing due process in China, we shall closely follow future developments in this regard. But, for now, we are relieved that the commitment shown by Austria, the EU and many other political bodies in Europe as well as civil society has been successful and that the decision of the Chinese authorities was also influenced by humanitarian considerations,” concluded the Foreign Minister.
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