Britain 'very concerned' over China artist detention
Britain on Monday urged China to immediately release artist and activist Ai Weiwei, saying the application of human rights were "essential prerequisites" for China's long-term prosperity.
"I am very concerned by reports that Ai Weiwei has been detained by the Chinese authorities," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
"I call on the Chinese government to urgently clarify Ai's situation and wellbeing, and hope he will be released immediately," added Hague.
As part of an expanding crackdown against dissent, Chinese authorities detained Ai at Beijing's international airport as he prepared to board a flight on Sunday.
"The UK remains committed to engagement with China on human rights," Hague explained.
"I am absolutely clear that the development of independent civil society and application of human rights under the rule of law are essential prerequisites for China's long-term prosperity and stability."
Ai is best known in the West for designing the "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium in Beijing.
© 2011 AFP