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Colleagues of Chinese artist freed


Ai Weiwei celebrates his release (AP)

Ai Weiwei celebrates his release (AP)

Ai Weiwei celebrates his release (AP)

A close friend of recently released Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says officials have released Ai's colleagues after more than two months of detention.

Liu Xiaoyuan said Ai confirmed to him that driver Zhang Jinsong, accountant Hu Mingfen and designer Liu Zhenggang were released around the same time as Ai.

Liu Yanping, a volunteer who works with Ai and a friend of another detainee, Wen Tao, says Wen has also been released.

Ai, who challenged the government before his detention, was one of the most prominent activists detained in China's recent crackdown on dissent.

He was detained on April 3 and released on Wednesday after confessing to tax evasion. Ai says he is not allowed to talk about his case, but his family and supporters dispute the charge.

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