Chinese Court Upholds Fine Against Dissident Ai Weiwei

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s appeal in his tax evasion case has been rejected, and the fine of US$2.4 million has been upheld. Ai was detained for 81 days in 2011 before authorities announced that his art studio was being charged for tax evasion. From Reuters:

“It’s an extremely shameless court,” Ai, whose 81-day detention last year sparked an international outcry, told reporters.

“It didn’t respect the facts or give us a chance to defend ourselves; it has no regard for taxpayers’ rights,” he said, adding he did not know whether now he had to pay to entire fine though he suspected he did.

Ai, 55, had asked the Chaoyang District Court to overturn the city tax office’s rejection of his appeal against the 15 million yuan ($2.38 million) tax evasion penalty imposed on the company he works for, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, which produces his art and designs.

“From the Fake tax case (we) can see that there’s no fair justice in China,” Ai added.

CNN has more on the legal inconsistencies with the case:

The court directly ruled on the case without holding a hearing and failed to serve Ai sufficient notice of the ruling, according to Liu Xiaoyuan, Ai’s legal adviser, who accompanied the artist to court on Thursday.

“We submitted new evidence to the court after the first appeal,” Liu said. “According to regulations, there should have been another hearing, but there was not.”

“According to relevant laws and regulations, the court should send a formal written notification three days before the verdict,” Liu added. “But the court just gave us a call last night telling us there would be a hearing today,” he said, adding that no other members of Ai’s legal team were able to make it to the court on such short notice.

As is his habit, Ai relentlessly documented his day on Twitter and Instagram.

A survey of Ai’s work, titled “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” will open October 7 at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Authorities are still holding Ai’s passport, even though his probation ended June 21, and so he is unable to travel for the exhibit or for other planned events in the U.S. and Europe, he recently told the New York Times.