On Monday the New York Times reports that Ai was able to meet with his wife, Lu Qing, who apparently confirms that Ai looks well enough and that conditions of his detention are not all that bad. This isn’t to say that its enjoyable to be in prison, even if prison is some form of ‘house arrest.’ It might suggest, though, that reports of Ai’s torture and forced confession, such as those appearing in Epoch Times, might be a bit overstated （艾未未受酷刑认罪？中国人权揭黑幕). Ai, in the 30-minute (and no doubt well-supervised) meeting, showed particular concern about the health of his mother. His mother, in turn, responded to reporters, as the NYT’s has it:
Mr. Ai’s mother said on Monday that she was relieved to learn that her son
appears to be in good health but she said the family remains in the dark
about why authorities are holding the activist.
“It is a huge relief to know that he was not tortured,” Gao Ying, 78, said
in a telephone interview. She said Ms. Lu told her that “Weiwei seemed
healthy and calm² and that ³they seem to be treating him a civilized way.”
Ai’s family’s prominent position in the PRC government actually predates the PRC, and, perhaps, will outlive it as well. The focus here on Ai’s wife and mother is indicative of their ongoing stature, an influence best exerted, I expect, behind the scenes.