* China artist Ai Weiwei’s tax evasion appeal rejected

BBC News: “A court in China has rejected an appeal by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei against a tax evasion fine, his lawyer says.

Police barred Mr Ai from attending court in Beijing’s Chaoyang district to hear the verdict delivered.

Tax authorities imposed a 15m yuan ($2.4m, £1.5m) fine on Mr Ai’s firm for tax evasion in 2011. Supporters say the fine is politically motivated and Mr Ai wanted the court to overrule the penalty.

”We will keep appealing, until the day comes when we have nothing to lose,” Mr Ai said via Twitter. His lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, who was in court for the verdict, told reporters that the ruling was ”totally without reason”.

The artist, a outspoken critic of the government, was detained for almost three months without charge last year. “This country has once again proved to the world that law and justice don’t exist here” said Ai Weiwei on Twitter.

Outside his door witnesses counted up to 32 police cars.

His lawyers told the court the police were acting illegally preventing a free man from hearing the verdict in his own case. The entire case they say is illegal, from the secret detention of Mr Ai to the fact there’s no real evidence of tax evasion.

Ai Weiwei’s fame, his adept use of social media, his refusal to stay silent, and his persistent, sometimes impudent, criticisms of the Communist Party’s rule have all made this a litmus test for the way the party deals with dissent.

But, with the transfer of power to a new generation of leaders looming, China’s huge security apparatus appears determined to put ”stability” and ”harmony” first, and, critics will say, due process second.

After he was released, he was accused of tax evasion and the fine imposed.”

via BBC News – China artist Ai Weiwei’s tax evasion appeal rejected.


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