Xinhua: Ai Weiwei is being investigated for 'economic crimes'

More all-Ai-all-the-time treatment. Now The Guardian reports that a one-sentence dispatch, now deleted, at China's Xinhua news service said that Ai Weiwei is being investigated for "economic crimes." Of note, the story is the first indication so far that the police have the artist. Also, if it is an official statement, it says plenty about Chinese justice: "suspicion," apparently without formal charges or promise of a trial, is grounds for kidnapping and prolonged detention.

Chinese police are investigating outspoken artist Ai Weiwei for "suspected economic crimes", the state news agency, Xinhua, has announced. Authorities had not previously acknowledged police action against the 53-year-old, who went missing on Sunday after being stopped by officials at Beijing airport.

The single-sentence report, deleted shortly after it appeared, did not explicitly refer to his detention, and there was no word on his friend Wen Tao, 38, who has also been unreachable since his reported detention on the same day....

Update 11.07.11:
"Ai Weiwei is under investigation on suspicion of economic crimes," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters, in the first official comments on the artist's arrest. "It has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression. Other countries have no right to interfere."

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