10/02/2012, 00.00
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Authorities revoke Ai Weiwei's business licence

The dissident architect's company, Fake Cultural Development, did not renew its licence for this year. It could not do so because the authorities had seized its papers. This should end the case with the tax office.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Chinese authorities have decided to revoke the business licence of Fake Cultural Development, the company that handles dissident artist Ai Weiwei's affairs. The artist has been involved in a legal battle with the tax authorities. In his view, the authorities had already decided to shut down his company, but this might mean that Ai may not have to pay the entire fine (15 million yuan) for tax evasion.

Ai's company lost its final appeal last week before the Chaoyang district bureau of the municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce in Beijing.

The artist posted online yesterday the bureau's notice, which said that the company had not met the necessary requirements for licence renewal.

Fake Cultural Development said it could not renew its licence because the authorities had seized all its papers when police arrested the artist last year.

For the dissident, this is not entirely bad news because the company might avoid paying the entire fine. In fact, Ai's lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan said it was unclear how the company could pay the remaining 6.6 million yuan since it did not have a business licence.

Ai, 55, is famous for working on Beijing's "Bird's Nest', the stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games.  

A harsh critic of the Communist government's repression, he was held illegally for 81 days behind bars on tax evasion.

Upon his released, he continued to criticise the government, especially online.

"Of course we have lost the battle - they kept our [tax deposit]. But I think we have won the war. We gave people a clear understanding of what the Fake case was about and how they handled it," he said.

"I think they want to back down to try and conclude this case. [. . .] That didn't work and it backfired," he added.

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See also
Ai Weiwei to appeal tax bill to shame Chinese system
Well-known human rights lawyer arrested
"Disgraceful" court decision against artist Ai Weiwei
Beijing court to hear Ai Weiwei lawsuit
Beijing tries extortion with Ai Weiwei


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