07/20/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing court rejects Ai Weiwei appeal

Appeal was presented to the court in May. Police bar the activist from hearing the delivery of the verdict. He must pay a fine of 2.2 million for tax evasion. Ai: "We will continue to appeal until we can, we have nothing to lose."

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Chinese court has rejected an appeal by Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist and dissident, on trial for tax evasion. The police barred the activist from assisting in the delivery of the verdict. The tax authorities have imposed a fine of 2 million on Ai. His supporters say that the penalty has political reasons and the court should cancel it.

"We will continue to appeal the verdict until we can, we have nothing to lose," Ai said on his Twitter account, where the activist informs his fans every day about the trail process.

Also from blog the activist points out that shortly before the trial the police turned up outside his house, barring him from participating in the session. "If I can not even appear in court - he wrote - what more will this country do to me?". To avoid clashes, the authorities deployed hundreds of police uniformed officers and plain clothes detectives with the task of monitoring all entrances and exits to the court, denying access to journalists and activists.

Ai Weiwei is an artist of international renown, who was involved in the Olympic stadium "Swallow's Nest" in Beijing and has exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London. Known for his positions critical of the communist regime, he was arrested and detained for 3 months in 2011 without charges. His arrest came at a time when the Chinese government was racing to prevent the possible early manifestations of riots inspired by the "Arab spring". Since his release he has been held under house arrest.

Immediately after the Chinese authorities accused his company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, of tax evasion together with his wife. He has described the fine "a joke" aimed at covering up the lack of any real charges against him. The appeal filed by his lawyers points the finger at the No. 2 inspection team of the Beijing Tax Office, which violated the law in the course of investigations and searches of his offices.

 

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