After holding artist Ai Weiwei in incommunicado detention for six weeks, Chinese authorities have finally given specifics of the charges against him. A Xinhua report says he is being held on suspicion of evading a “huge amount” of taxes. From Reuters:
Ai’s sister, Gao Ge, said his family had not been officially notified of the tax accusations, which she said were another unfounded effort by the police to justify holding Ai.
Supporters say he is the victim of a crackdown on dissent.
The Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., which has helped produce Ai’s internationally renowned art and designs, “was found to have evaded ‘a huge amount’ of tax” and also to have “intentionally destroyed accounting documents”, Xinhua said, citing unnamed police.
The brief report also said Ai has been “under residential surveillance”, a kind of detention that usually means detainees are confined to their homes.
But Ai has been allowed to see his wife only once — last week — since he was seized at Beijing’s international airport on April 3, igniting an outcry about China’s tightening grip on dissent, which has triggered the detention and arrest of dozens of rights activists and dissidents.
The report did not indicate that Ai has been formally charged.