After 43 Days, Ai Weiwei Allowed to Meet With Wife

Famed artist tells her he is in good health
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2011 6:05 AM CDT
Artist Ai Weiwei was allowed to meet with his wife yesterday, 43 days after he was detained for "economic crimes."   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

(Newser) – Imprisoned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was granted his first family visit yesterday, 43 days after he was taken into custody, reports the BBC. Ai's wife, Lu Qing, was brought to a secret location to meet with him for about 20 minutes, under the condition they did not talk about sensitive issues, only family and health. "He seemed conflicted, contained, his face was tense. I could see redness in his eyes. It was obvious that without freedom to express himself he was not behaving naturally even with me," says Lu, who adds that Ai otherwise appeared to be in good health.

"We could not talk about the economic charges or other stuff," she says, and tells the AP that others were present when they met, and some of them were taking notes. "We were careful, we knew that the deal could be broken at any moment, so we were careful." Lu says Ai was not handcuffed and was wearing his own clothes instead of a detention center uniform. His trademark beard had not been shaven. Chinese authorities have not specified the charges against him, except to say he was being investigated for "economic crimes," but it is generally believed Ai is actually being investigated for his criticism of the government.

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