The New York Times points out that Ai Weiwei’s release today is a victory for those who spoke out in protest against the government’s actions. Ai is out on “bail.”
It generally means that prosecutors have decided to drop charges against a suspect on certain conditions, including good behavior, and to subject him to monitoring over a period of time during which charges could be reintroduced.
“This is a technique that the public security authorities sometimes use as a face-saving device to end controversial cases that are unwise or unnecessary for them to prosecute,” Jerome A. Cohen, a scholar of the Chinese legal system, said in an e-mail. “Often in such cases, a compromise has been reached in negotiation with the suspect, as apparently it has been here.”
Mr. Cohen said Mr. Ai’s release “is very good news and perhaps the very best outcome that could have been expected in the circumstances of this difficult case.”
Liu Xiaoyuan, Mr. Ai’s lawyer, said in a Twitter post that as long as the taxes were paid, Mr. Ai would probably remain free.
Dissident Chinese Artist Is Released (New York Times)