Lifestyle & Belief

Ai Weiwei's $2.4M tax fine to be reviewed by China


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in his studio in Beijing in 2009.


Sharron Lovell

The controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said today that Beijing authorities had agreed to review a 15 million yuan ($2.4m) tax fine imposed on him last year, Agence France Presse reported.

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The fine for "back taxes” was billed to the company Fake Cultural Development, which was founded by Ai but is registered to his wife.

Pu Zhiqiang, a lawyer for Fake Cultural Development, said:

"They have two months to review the case. If we are not satisfied with the results, we can bring the case to court."

The fine came after Ai, 54, was released without charge in June last year, after spending three months in detention, as part of a crackdown on dissent by Chinese authorities.

Ai used money donated by 30,000 supporters from around the world as a bond to appeal the tax fine, which Ai has described as an effort by China to silence his criticism of the government, the BBC reported.

Then last week, Ai's lawyers filed a 9,000-word request to have the case reviewed, pointing out inconsistencies. AFP reported that Ai received confirmation that the review request had been accepted on Thursday.

Ai, who was last year named by ArtReview magazine as the most powerful artist in the world, said he hoped the case would be handled quickly and transparently, the Associated Press reported:

“How they handle this relates to issues of China’s rule of law and the safety of its people ... It has very broad implications. If they can’t resolve this issue very fairly and carefully, it will be bring harm to this society’s justice system.”

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