Censorship Vault: Ai Weiwei’s Tax Donations
From the Censorship Vault features previously untranslated censorship instructions from the archives of the CDT series Directives from the Ministry of Truth (真理部指令). These instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. CDT has collected the selections we translate here from a variety of sources and has checked them against official Chinese media reports to confirm their implementation.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The original publication date is noted after the directives; the date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.
Last year, artist and dissident Ai Weiwei’s Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. was charged with tax evasion by the authorities. Ai, who was detained for 81 days last April, has been held responsible for the RMB 15 million (USD 2.4 million) his company allegedly owes. Supporters sent him small donations totalling USD 1.4 million by wiring funds and even attaching cash to paper airplanes which they tossed over the walls of his Beijing compound. Ai, who always considered these donations to be loans, appealed the charges, but finally lost his case last month. He has begun to return the donations and will pay the “back taxes.” His firm will be shut down.
State Council Information Office: Delete all online references to the case of Ai Weiwei “borrowing money to pay his taxes.” Interactive pages must promptly remove messages which seize on this occasion to attack the Party and government, the legal system and the social system. Promptly remove all discussion of a mobilizing or inciting nature. (November 2, 2011)