Chinese Political Artist Ai Weiwei Fights Tax Evasion Charges

Ai Weiwei, the acclaimed artist second to none at annoying the Chinese government, will be fighting tax evasion charges thanks to financial help from supporters, according to The Associated Press:

The Beijing tax bureau is demanding that the dissident artist pay 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines. Ai denies tax evasion. As of Wednesday, Ai had received 6,725,139 yuan from thousands of people wanting to help pay the bill that they see as unfair, he wrote online Thursday.

Ai, an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist, was detained for nearly three months earlier this year during an overall crackdown on dissent. The detention and subsequent claims of tax evasion have been interpreted by activists as a way to punish him for his often-outspoken criticism of the authoritarian government.

Rather than use the contributions to help pay off the tax bill, Ai will put the money toward contesting the legitimacy of the charges. He must pay an 8.5 million yuan guarantee before even being allowed to make an appeal.

Ai's wife, Lu Qing, told The New York Times that they "demand the case be reopened because all procedures were wrong and most were illegal."

Ai also says he will treat the contributions from supporters not as donations, but loans to be paid back.

Bonus quote from Gao Ying, Ai's perceptive 80-year-old mother who is contemplating mortgaging or selling her home to support her son: “I have these words for the authorities: creepy, crooked, evil."

Reason on Ai Weiwei and how messed up China is here, here, and here.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Joe Biden can't believe how unpatriotic this guy is.

  • Suki||

    FTW

  • ||

    So he's the Wesley Snipes of China? I like him already.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Always bet on yellow.

  • ||

    Thank you. I was going to do it myself, but I figured why not share.

  • ||

    Careful of any Ai Weiwei links: the Chicoms cyber-attack any online support or info on this guy. I got a threat when I went to a London Times article on him.

  • ||

    Ai, an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist

    "That Barney Rubble; what an actor!"

  • Chinese Infiltrator||

    As an expat in China, I've never understood Ai Weiwei's appeal. The journalists, local and especially foreign, all love him for some reason. He's just a douchebag artist with a inflated sense of self. The chances that he actually owes millions in taxes? 100% -- He's a goddam artist who sells million-dollar pieces.

    He's recently called world leaders cowardly for ignoring that the oppression in China is getting worse. Which is pretty ridiculous considering the expansion of the (partially crippled) internet and growing mobility here alone cancels out most propaganda.

  • Chinese Infiltrator||

    Not trying to be an apologist. The central party here needs the let the fuck up, and clamp down on the local 'emperors'. Just sayin' I don't get how Ai Weiwei has become the spokesperson.

  • johnl||

    He's got the ting thing going for him with women ai Ai Wei Wei.

  • ||

    This guy's got coolest f*cking hair I've seen on anyone for quite some time!

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