China was serious when they said Ai Weiwei had to pay over $2 million in tax fines. That's why they dismissed an appeal from Ai Weiwei on Thursday and upheld the original decision.
A district court rejected an appeal from Ai on Thursday, and he was furious afterwards. "It's an extremely shameless court," Ai said according to Reuters. "It didn't respect the facts or give us a chance to defend ourselves; it has no regard for taxpayers' rights," he added. Ai also said he wasn't sure if he had to pay the entire fine or if the amount was reduced. He suspected it would be the full amount, though. The fines were levied against Beijing Fake Cultural Development, the company that produces Ai's artwork, and not Ai himself.
Ai has publicly feuded with Chinese authorities for much of the last year. (Not that the dissident artist was very popular before.) It wasn't long after his release from prison last summer when China delivered the news of the tax fines. Fans of the artist gave him piles of money (sometimes via paper airplane) to appeal the charges, but alas their efforts have failed. The likelihood of an appeal working was slim. Ai spent some time on house arrest since then. Most recently, Ai told the New York Times on Tuesday he couldn't travel to New York for the first survey of his work in North America because the government still had his passport stemming from his incarceration a year ago.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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