11/03/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Ai Weiwei promises to "fight to the death" against Beijing’s false accusations

A company that produces the works of dissident artist was accused of tax evasion. It was asked to pay a huge sum for arrears and fines. Today, the artist breaks his silence and speaks to the press and the Western media: "I think it's improper that a country is engaging in shameless activities."
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has said today that he will fight "until death" against charges of tax evasion that the Chinese government has laid against him. The Beijing authorities yesterday ordered a company linked to the artist to pay 15 million Yuan (1.7 million Euros) 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. He was released last June on condition not speak to foreign media.

Today he broke the embargo following the financial attack led by the Government. "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. “I will fight them to the death," said Ai Weiwei.

Ai Weiwei 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."

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