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Orbit designer Anish Kapoor welcomes Ai Weiwei release

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The sculptor behind the 2012 Olympics ArcelorMittal Orbit tower, Anish Kapoor has said he is ‘thankful’ the Chinese authorities have released artist Ai Weiwei but said artists should continue to boycott the country

Weiwei, best known in this country for creating a carpet of hand-carved sunflower seeds in London’s Tate Modern, has been released on bail after authorities said he confessed to tax evasion.

Kapoor, who won the Turner Prize in 1991 and has designed a 380-foot high sculpture celebrating the 2012 Olympics, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to hear the news about the release of Ai Weiwei and wait to hear about further developments.

‘I hope that he will now be given a fair trial so that he can answer the charges that have been brought against him. While I am thankful that he has been released, I do not think that artists should present their work in China until the situation has been resolved.’

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said Weiwei had shown a ‘good attitude in confessing his crimes’ and repeatedly pledged to pay back taxes he owed.

A company linked to the artist, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, evaded a ‘huge amount’ of taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents, it said.

His family and supporters have dismissed similar accusations in the past.

Indian-born Kapoor, who now lives in London, dedicated his latest work to the detained Chinese artist when it was unveiled in Paris last month.

Weiwei said his health was ‘fine’ in a brief interview but said he could not say anything more.

He told ITV News: ‘No, I cannot say anything. I’m really sorry. Please understand that. I’m so happy I’m home and thank you.’

Asked for a message for people in the UK who have campaigned for his release, he said: ‘I thank everybody, very gratefully. Thank you.’

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