China Demands $1.9M From Ai Weiwei

    FILE - In this Thursday, June 23, 2011 file photo, activist artist Ai Weiwei opens the gate to talk to journalists gathered outside his home in Beijing, China. Liu Xiaoyuan, a close friend of Ai said Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Beijing's tax authorities are seeking nearly $2 million in back taxes and fines from the government critic who was recently released from detention. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

    Ng Han Guan / AP Photos

    Ai Weiwei may be out of detention, but the artist is by no means free from persecution: China's authorities are demanding that he hand over 4.85 million yuan ($750,000) in unpaid taxes and an additional fine of 7.3 million yuan ($1.1 million), according to Ai's lawyer and close friend. Since the terms of his bail prevent him from speaking out publicly, his family has insisted on his behalf that, despite what the authorities say, Ai never evaded taxes. The alleged unpaid fees span 10 years, according to reports, so why are they only being brought up now? Ai must respond to the government's written demand within three days, his lawyer says. He is one of more than 100 political activists, human-rights lawyers, and bloggers who have been victims of China's recent communist crackdown on government dissent.

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