Author: expatter

Rogues Gallery: Ai Weiwei ...........   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-11-11 20:14:57 |Display all floors

From the Global Times

There is now a drastic twist to the tax evasion case of Ai Weiwei. Ai revealed to the media recently that China's judicial institutions have asked him to pay for his tax evasion actions which total 15 million yuan ($2.3 million). On Weibo, Ai openly asked to "borrow"money from the public.

Ai said he would repay everyone several times the amount borrowed after he won the case. He claimed that more than 10,000 people quickly responded. This event has been interpreted by some foreign media as the Chinese people donating to Ai's cause. The action has also been regarded as a special protest by the artist.

Some experts have pointed out this could be an example of illegal fund-raising. Since he's borrowing from the public, it at least looks like illegal fund-raising. Meanwhile, as Western media reported, Ai purchased an upscale apartment in Berlin last year, and had planned to buy a 4,800-square-meter studio this year also in Berlin. Does he need to borrow money to pay off his tax evasion? However, as we are neither legal or tax professionals, these are not the key points we have tried to make.

It might be true that a few people in China would like to give him some money. Some donators said they view the donation as an act of voting. But the thing here is, Ai's borrowing and the subsequent donations will not make any substantive change to Ai's case. First, it will not alter the matter of Ai's tax evasion, something his followers don't even question. But many hold the view that tax evasion is rampant in China. This time, it is an excuse Chinese authorities have used to punish the dissident.

The donations will not change the public's attitude toward Ai's case, either. It is absolutely normal for a certain number of people to show their support for him with donations. But these people are an extremely small number when compared with China's total population. Ai's political preference along with his supporters' cannot stand for the mainstream public, which is opposed to radical and confrontational political stances.

China has more than a few artists who have made headlines because of tax evasion. One is actress Liu Xiaoqing who went to prison for over 400 days. But unlike Ai, Liu's case aroused almost zero attention in terms of unfairness from this small group of people, while Ai was only detained for around 40 days.

Ai probably will spend more time in politics than in art in the future. In China, more people are imitating Ai's approach than ever before. It is probably because the overall risk of doing so is not as great as it once was but the financial gain is obvious.

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Post time 2011-11-11 20:18:51 |Display all floors
Oh dear, I post the above post and it immediately is approved.

I post the alternative viewpoint (unlike our expatter who claims he is even-handed) and it disappears into the filter ....

Just like my post on a much-loved Chinese rogue (no, not him with a capital M) ... in the interest of even-handedness .... which disappeared hours ago probably never to surface.

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Post time 2011-11-11 20:22:42 |Display all floors
And further attempts... with the appropriate spaces in sensitive words still do not pass.

One wonders if the powers that be only want one side (of expatter's even-handedness) to be shown here on the bbs?

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Post time 2011-11-11 20:23:03 |Display all floors


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Post time 2011-11-11 20:24:46 |Display all floors

From the BBC

Thousands of people have donated money to pay a massive tax bill served on Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

By Monday, there had been donations totalling more than 5m yuan ($790,000; £490,000) to pay off the $2.4m in taxes and fines the authorities say he owes.

Many people believe he was served the bill because of his outspoken criticism of the government rather than because he had evaded taxes.

But a state-run newspaper has warned that the donations could be illegal.

An editorial in China's English-language Global Times newspaper cited unnamed experts as saying the artist could be accused of "illegal fundraising".

The paper also said this show of support was not representative of the views of the larger Chinese population, "which is opposed to radical and confrontational political stances".
'We're supporting you'

The donations began shortly after the internationally renowned artist announced that he had received the tax demand.

People have handed over money using bank transfers and postal orders - and some have flown cash folded into paper planes over the wall into his compound, the BBC's Michael Bristow in Beijing reports.

According to a posting on the social networking site Twitter by Liu Yanping, a volunteer at the artist's studio, almost 20,000 people have so far handed over money.

"These are tens of thousands of people bringing in the money," Ai Weiwei told the BBC.

"They all have one message: we're supporting you, we're behind you, we have to let the people know solidarity and we know what it is and we know the accusations are fake, they're unreal."

Mr Ai - who has sold artworks around the world - has admitted he does not need the money, and has vowed to pay people back later.

He says the donations are an expression of people's feelings about the way he has been treated.

One reader, from Guangzhou, told the BBC he had sent money because it was a "rare opportunity to support what I believe".

"I will keep my receipt of the postal order forever, because it is my first real vote," the reader wrote.

Another reader, from Nanjing, told the BBC the 100 yuan they had sent was "for the protection and demonstration of human rights of dissidents".

The tax bill relates to late payments and fines connected to Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, a firm that produces the artist's work.

Although Mr Ai said he was only a "designer" at the company, the authorities maintain that he is the "actual controller".

He was detained at Beijing Airport in April as he tried to leave the country and held for nearly three months.

He was released without charge in June, but accused of tax evasion. The current bill is how much the authorities say he owes.

But Mr Ai said this demand was just a cover, and he was being persecuted for his political beliefs.

Over the last few years Mr Ai, who helped design Beijing's "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium, has been one of the government's most outspoken critics.

"During the 81 days of my arrest, inside this secret place, they accused me of subversion of state power," he said last week.

But he said he was told he had to be charged with tax evasion. The police told him: "We want people to think you are a bad guy."

Mr Ai has until the end of the week to pay up. He has not yet decided what to do.

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Post time 2011-11-11 20:27:52 |Display all floors

Ah ........... !

That is more like it  .............  #54 and #55

A touch of sarcasm and a dollop of paranoia  ............   

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Post time 2011-11-11 20:29:46 |Display all floors
"Mr Ai - who has sold artworks around the world - has admitted he does not need the money, and has vowed to pay people back later."

So what was that about a selfish billionaire who is doing all this as a political stunt ... ?

Seems he didn't ask and that people volunteered - I haven't read his weibo page, is it even accessible here?

Could it be that the Global Times is practicing even-handedness expatter style?

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