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China and Ai Weiwei

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said he has been ordered to pay more than 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines within 15 days.

Officials from the Beijing municipal tax bureau presented Ai with a notice today about the money allegedly owed by Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., the design company it claims he controls, he said in a phone interview. Ai, who was imprisoned for 81 days without charge earlier this year, said he has not seen proof of the authorities’ claim and that he only works for the company as a designer. He called the claim an excuse that the government is using to explain his arrest.

“It’s very weird because the tax bureau said this is not about you, it’s about a company, but the police said you are the actual controller of the company,” Ai said. “They have to make up something to justify their actions.”

In a post on his Twitter account earlier today, Ai said the tax authorities had first told him he owed 60 million yuan, then 20 million before telling him they were lowering the amount again “considering your abilities.”

Ai’s April 3 detention at the Beijing airport was the most visible in a series of arrests, harassments and unexplained disappearances of activists in China after a surge of pro- democracy protests in the Middle East that spurred online calls for nationwide rallies in China.

An internationally known artist, Ai had an installation at London’s Tate Modern gallery turbine hall featuring millions of ceramic sunflower seeds. He collaborated on the design of the Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, working with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.


For your inspiration we would like to recommend you to watch the following films:

Last Train Home (2009)

A couple embarks on a journey home for Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers, to reunite with their children and struggle for a future. Their unseen story plays out as China soars towards being a world superpower.


Moving the Mountain (1994)

The film is a documentary about the demonstrations of students in Peking on the 4th of June 1989 for more democracy in the People's Republic which were ended by army forces. The story is told from students’ point of view.