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Ai Weiwei says China court rejects tax appeal

27 september 2012, 11:27
0
hinese artist Ai Weiwei (C) talks to the foreign media. ©AFP
hinese artist Ai Weiwei (C) talks to the foreign media. ©AFP
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said a Beijing court on Thursday rejected an appeal by the internationally acclaimed artist against a $2.4 million fine for tax evasion that he calls politically motivated, AFP reports.

"No change in the original verdict," Ai told reporters outside the Beijing court where the ruling was issued.

"The court violated legal procedures. They refused to allow us to present our case."

Ai, 55, had been seeking an open trial on charges of tax evasion by the company he founded, Fake Cultural Development, which resulted in the hefty fine by the Beijing tax bureau last November.

Ai, a frequent government critic who spent 81 days in jail last year followed by a year of travel restrictions over the case, has said the tax accusation is an attempt by the Chinese regime to "crush" him for his activism.

His legal team have said they have new evidence and other material that they would like to present.

Thursday's ruling was Ai's last chance to contest the charges.

In theory, he can appeal to the nation's supreme court but the likelihood of such an appeal being entertained looked extremely slim in light of his disfavour with the government.

Ai is known for tallying the number of schoolchildren killed in a 2008 earthquake -- a sensitive topic because many schools fell while other buildings did not, fuelling suspicion that the poor construction resulted from corruption.

Ai also was detained last year during a round-up of activists as popular revolts gathered force in the Middle East.

After his tax fine, indignant supporters collected $1.3 million to pay the bond required to challenge the charge, with some even throwing money over the walls into his courtyard home.

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