|China's Ai Weiwei will fight tax charges "to the death"|
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei speaks to members of the media in the doorway of his studio after he was released on bail in Beijing in this June 23, 2011 file photo. China on October 13, 2011 criticised a U.K.-based contemporary art magazine for naming dissident artist Ai Weiwei as the art world's most powerful figure, saying the selection based on "political bias" runs contrary to the magazine's principles. Ai, whose 81-day detention earlier this year caused an international outcry, topped ArtReview's 10th annual "Power 100" list. REUTERS/David Gray.
By: Sui-Lee Wee
BEIJING (REUTERS).- Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei vowed Wednesday to fight tax evasion charges "to the death," a day after the government ordered a company linked to him to pay 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines.
The 54-year-old artist, who has been a thorn in the government's side for his satirical art and criticism of contemporary China, was detained without charge for 81 days this year in a move that drew criticism from Western governments.
He was released in late June on condition that he not talk to foreign media, since when he has mainly kept to himself and has been reluctant to accept interviews.
But in a two-hour interview with Reuters, Ai, who had a hand in designing the Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, showed flashes of his previously fiery self.
"Will a person like Ai Weiwei surrender?" In my dictionary, there's no such word 'surrender'," the bearded artist said at his home and studio in northeastern Beijing where a team of lawyers and tax experts and his wife, Lu Qing, were gathered.
"Ordinary people will not be able to endure this. But because they've targeted me, I'm still willing to accompany them on this road. Because I'm not afraid of them. I think it's improper that a country is engaging in shameless activities."
Ai said authorities had not shown him evidence of the alleged tax evasion and had told the manager and accountant of Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., which has helped produce Ai's internationally renowned art and designs, not to meet him.
According to Ai, the Public Security Bureau has labeled him the "controlling person" of the company, although his wife is the legal representative. Ai said that if he didn't pay the penalty, his wife could go to jail.
"And for a country like that, I will fight them to the death," he said.
"I WIN MORALLY'
Ai said he did not have the money to pay the back taxes and fines within the time limit of 15 days. He has decided to use his 79-year-old mother Gao Ying's house as collateral before asking for an administrative review, in which a panel re-examines the merits of an official decision.
"These few months, what I've seen on the Internet has infuriated me," Gao said in her courtyard home in inner Beijing, which she believes is worth around 25 million yuan. "It's unacceptable that a government can bully its citizens."
The lawyer for Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, Pu Zhiqiang, said he planned to ask authorities in the tax bureau to revoke the case, saying it was "illegal."
Ai, who has spoken out on issues ranging from last year's award of the Nobel Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo to Internet curbs, said authorities had targeted him for publishing a scathing attack on the government in an August commentary in Newsweek, in which he said citizens' rights were being violated.
Ai has taken his fight to the Internet with more than 100,000 followers on Twitter and warns the government case could backfire.
"There's a trial on the Internet every day," he said, with the government as "the accused."
"I think I win morally. I'm very lucky to have this kind of position. The normal act that I've taken -- just to ask the truth -- has become very heroic in this nation."
(Editing by Ken Wills and Nick Macfie)
November 4, 2011
Tate Liverpool exhibition explores how stories have influenced the visual arts
Historic conservation project by Global Heritage Fund begins at "Machu Picchu of the North"
Exhibition of the private collection of Robert Rauschenberg at Gagosian Gallery in New York
Police recover 2 stolen paintings by Dutch masters and return them to Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden museum
Sotheby's New York announces sale of important works in its Latin American auction
Bonhams to sell Imperial Chinese jar recalling Emperor with 99 sons who adopted one more to make 100
Picasso, de Chirico, Léger, and Picabia in the presence of the antique at Getty Villa
Exhibition of nine new, large-scale watercolor paintings by Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin Gallery
Rare 1938 Gibson Advance Jumbo guitar brings $53,775 to lead $1.43 million Heritage Vintage Guitar auction
Software developers Contrasto launch app series for iPhone and iPad on great photographers
Psychology, biology and religion collide at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
Library of Congress acquires collection of rare architectural drawings, and photographs
National Gallery of Victoria launches contemporary art space with an exhibition of work by Ranjani Shettar
Tel Aviv Museum of Art inaugurates new building with a major exhibition of works by Anselm Kiefer
George Hendrik Breitner: Pioneer of Street Photography at the Paris Photo Fair
China's Ai Weiwei will fight tax charges "to the death"
Installations made entirely of sugar and salt in Ken + Julia's first UK solo show at GV Art
"Working Together" exhibition by Claire Fontaine at Metro Pictures
100-year-old artist donates works to Goddard
20//20 collective curates exhibition at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club in London
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Jackson Pollock work "Number 19, 1948" sells for record $58.4 million at Christie's
2.- Exhibition of nude photography around 1900 on view at Berlin's Photography Museum
3.- Belize City officials say ancient thirty-meter high Mayan pyramid razed for road fill
4.- Hidden drawings from Nazi concentration camp on display at Jewish Museum in Berlin
5.- Records fall at Sotheby's contemporary art auction; Barnett Newman painting sells for $43.84M
6.- Death mask of Napoleon to be auctioned at Bonhams' Book, Map and Manuscript sale
7.- New Yorkers unnerved by neighbor's voyeuristic photos on view at Julie Saul Gallery
8.- Rare Vincent Van Gogh sketchbook copies up for unprecedented sale at museum store and online
9.- Leonardo DiCaprio environmental art auction at Christie's New York tops $38 million
10.- Hong Kong cries fowl as giant rubber duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman deflates
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|