Hague calls on China to clarify Weiwei charges

Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the Chinese authorities to urgently clarify the charges against dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Serious questions remain over the detention of the activist, who was recently released on bail after spending nearly three months in prison for "economic crimes", the Cabinet minister said. Mr Ai, a high-profile critic of the communist Chinese regime, was detained on 3 April while trying to leave the country.

The 54-year-old was held in secret and without access to a lawyer, sparking international condemnation.

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He was released after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion and has yet to speak to the media for fear of breaking the terms of his bail. Mr Ai's family deny the allegations and campaigners claim he was targeted for his outspoken views.

Mr Hague said: "I welcome the release of Ai Weiwei on bail, which will come as a welcome boost to his family, friends and supporters.

"But serious questions remain about the circumstances of his detention and his legal status."

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