Ai Weiwei, a famous and outspoken Chinese artist, has just been ordered to pay the government $2.4 million in back taxes. Weiwei, who was detained for nearly three months earlier this year, said that he doesn’t plan on paying the taxes unless the Chinese government explains why he owes such an exuberant amount of money.
“We can pay this money, but we need to know why we have to. We cannot just unwittingly hand over a sum of money. This would be irresponsible toward the country.”
The CS Monitor reports that Weiwei was given a similar notice this Summer for a smaller amount. The new notice says that he has 10 days to pay but does not specify what will happen if he misses his payment.
Reuters reports that Weiwei was detained for 81 days earlier this year for tax evasion. During that time police raided his studio and confiscated his account books. Supporters of Weiwei say that the government is using the false tax evasion charge to punish Weiwei for speaking out against the government.
“Accounts for tax purposes should be investigated by the tax bureau, not the police. Police should not be taking me away to a place that no one knows for 81 days to investigate taxes.”
Weiwei says that he fears the Chinese government is misusing the law to punish him. Weiwei said:
“If you want to hurt one person, to hurt me, that’s all right… when you hurt the law, it hurts the country and everybody in it.”
Do you think Ai Weiwei will be detained again by the Chinese government?