(For our earlier coverage of Ai Weiwei’s release, see here.)
Ai Weiwei’s release yesterday is to be followed by that of his cousin and driver, Zhang Jinsong. Three of Ai’s other associates remain missing, however. From the Guardian:
Ai’s mother, Gao Ying, said her nephew Zhang Jinsong, who had worked for as the artist’s driver, returned home in a good mental state but had lost around 9kg (20lb). Zhang went missing a few days after his cousin.
Earlier she said she was delighted that Zhang was to be released “since he got into the case because of my son”. The 43-year-old cousin, known to friends as Xiao Pang, travelled and worked closely with Ai.
Three other associates who went missing shortly after Ai remain unaccounted for ….
They include Ai’s friend Wen Tao, 38. Wen’s girlfriend, Shi Jing, said his family had received no information about him ….
Hu Mingfen, 55, the accountant for the company that handled Ai’s affairs, and Liu Zhenggang, 49, a designer who worked at the artist’s studio, are also still missing.
The three are among the dozens of names on a partial list of disappeared individuals under the Chinese regime published by Amnesty International UK.
China’s Foreign Ministry has commented on Ai’s own situation. From Reuters:
Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing that Ai’s “obtaining a guarantee pending a trial” can last up to 12 months ….
“Ai is still in the investigation period for suspected crimes,” Hong said.
China’s foreign ministry has said Ai was being investigated on suspicion of economic crimes, but Chinese police have issued no formal notice to his family to explain why he is being held.
“He is not allowed to leave where he lives, cannot interfere (with) other people’s testimony, cannot fabricate evidence nor collaborate
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