Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei pays off £8L tax bill

Weiwei said this time he gave in to the Beijing tax bureau’s demand out of concern for the safety of his associates.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2011, 18:15 PM IST

Beijing: ‘Dissident’ Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has paid 800,000 pounds to the Chinese government after tax officials threatened to call in the police.

Chinese authorities said Ai’s company owes 15 million Yuan in back taxes and fines, but Weiwei disputes the tax-evasion allegations, saying he does not even own Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd.

Weiwei said this time he gave in to the Beijing tax bureau’s demand out of concern for the safety of his associates.

Tax bureau officials reportedly told his wife Lu Qing, the company’s legal representative, that they wanted the bond paid into one of the tax bureau’s bank accounts and that if the company missed Thursday’s deadline to do so, the case would be sent to the police.

“If you don’t do it this way, they might send you to the public security, then the public security organ can use some other procedure, under the charge of refusing to pay taxes, to do what, I don’t know,” the Daily Mail quoted Weiwei, as saying.

Weiwei said that if the case were to go to the police it was possible that they would detain his wife, because she is the firm’s legal representative, and the company’s manager and accountant, who he says have been unreachable in the months since his release.

He said police could also go after him even though he’s not the owner of the company, but just a designer.

The artist was the most high-profile target of a sweeping crackdown on activists that began in February in a bid to prevent protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa.

ANI