London: Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s second and final appeal for his 2.4 million dollar tax fine has been rejected.
The fine was levied after his release from detention, where his company, Fake Cultural Development Ltd., was ordered to pay over 2.4 million dollars.
The Chinese artist, who has long used his fame to highlight injustice, and his supporters, interpreted the penalty as official retaliation against his activism.
Weiwei said that though he was disappointed, he was not surprised.
“What surprises me is that this society, which is developing at such a rapid rate today, still has the most barbaric and backward legal system. I think it`s a bad omen,” The Telegraph quoted Weiwei, as saying.
Weiwei and his company had accused the Chinese tax bureau of violating laws in handling witnesses, gathering evidence and company accounts. But a Beijing court rejected those claims, and the ruling cannot be appealed again.
He said that authorities have repeatedly denied him his legal rights and failed to follow basic procedures, as they notified him by phone a day before the ruling instead of a written notice of the judgment three days in advance. The short notice meant his lawyers weren`t able to attend because they were travelling, he said.
Weiwei also said that authorities also have yet to return his passport, effectively barring him from leaving the country. The passport was taken after he was detained without explanation for three months last year, and was supposed to be returned to him after a probationary period that ended in June.
Absence of the passport has kept him from going to exhibitions of his work and other engagements in Washington, New York and Berlin, Weiwei said.