Charles Xue released from Chinese prison on bail

Charles Xue Biqun, a Chinese-born American billionaire venture capitalist and a prominent government critic, was released on bail April 16, 2014, after being arrested in August 2013 for alleged involvement in prostitution, according to news reports.

Xue, 61, had attracted 12 million followers on Sina Weibo, a microblogging website, and CPJ had determined that he was jailed in connection with his news-based commentary on the Internet. During his detention in September he appeared in handcuffs on a state-run broadcaster confessing to irresponsible online postings and saying he supported the government’s campaign against false rumors.

According to a report by state news agency Xinhua, Xue was granted bail on the grounds of a “serious illness.” Authorities decided “he no longer posed a danger to the public” but did not drop charges against him. The report also cited police as saying the decision to grant him bail conforms to Chinese law, which allows bail for “detainees with serious illnesses.”

The state-run People’s Daily newspaper said Xue would not be permitted to leave Beijing and that he could remain out on bail for up to 12 months, according to provisions in China’s criminal procedure code.

Xue’s lawyer, Qi Xiaohong, told the South China Morning Post that Xue was released on bond for health reasons and because he pleaded guilty and co-operated with investigators. His case is still under investigation by Beijing police.