Ai Weiwei's design license revoked


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei sits in the courtyard of his home in Beijing on November 7, 2010.


Peter Parks

Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei announced yesterday that authorities have revoked the business license for his design company in Beijing.

According to the BBC, authorities revoked his license claiming he failed to re-register the firm.

Ai told the BBC he would appeal, but added that it might be nearly impossible to re-register his Fake Cultural Development firm because officials had confiscated relevant documents. 

"They've returned computers, but not the accounting documents related to taxes," he told Reuters. He added, "I wouldn't be surprised if the government insisted on making the wrong decision on the company just to maintain face."

The move to revoke Ai's license comes just one week after Chinese authorities upheld a $2.4 million tax evasion fine against him. At that time Ai said the government was also preventing him from presenting his legal case adding that the Chinese legal system is a "barbaric and backward legal system".

The court "didn't respect the facts or give us a chance to defend ourselves; it has no regard for taxpayers' rights," he said. 

Ai insisted that the revocation of the license wouldn't affect his work in the art world and that the design firm was a completely separate business venture. "It was a company set up around the year 2000 as an architecture design firm. It's a company that I worked for, not my own business operation," he said.