Artist Ai Weiwei Gets $2.4 Million Tax Bill | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Artist Ai Weiwei Gets $2.4 Million Tax Bill

Artist Ai Weiwei, who earlier this year was jailed by Chinese authorities for nearly three months, said today that the government there has sent him a $2.4 million tax bill.

"His supporters," the BBC says, say the bill and accusations that he owes back taxes "are part of a plot to silence Mr. Ai, who is an outspoken critic of the government."

Ai, according to The Associated Press, "said he would not pay until police returned account books confiscated from his Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. design company and allowed him to meet with his former office manager and accountant. 'We can pay this money, but we need to know why we have to,' he said. 'We cannot just unwittingly hand over a sum of money. This would be irresponsible toward the country.' "

Back in June, Ai was released from jail after the government said he had admitted that Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. evaded paying its taxes. Today, the BBC reports, AI said "it was not true that I admitted to tax evasion charges. I was never formally arrested and never charged."

He was also released, the government said, on the condition that he not talk to the media. But in August, as Eyder wrote, Ai published a piece in Newsweek that described Beijing as "a constant nightmare" and a place where "you can never trust the judicial system."

Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, suggests on Twitter that Ai "1. Frame the tax bill. 2. Autograph it. 3. Let a rich collector buy it for the stated figure."

Ai, perhaps best known for designing the Bird's Nest for Beijing's Olympic Games, has been named "the contemporary art world's most powerful player" by ArtReview magazine.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Oct. 20

You can see a rock musical about a family dealing with mental illness. A local nonprofit celebrates its 20th anniversary with an artsy party.
NPR

Chef Ottolenghi Makes The Case For 'Plenty More' Vegetables

Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi talks with Rachel Martin about the difference between supermarket hummus and Middle Eastern hummus and why he doesn't like to call his cookbooks "vegetarian."
NPR

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

Campaigning against gay marriage used to help Republicans win elections — but now GOP candidates in tight races are backing away from mentioning social issues on the stump.
NPR

Will Apple's Mobile Wallet Replace Your Leather Wallet?

Many have tried and failed with this kind of payment option before. But Apple's launch is bigger, with more financial institutions' support, and consumers may be more security-conscious.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.