Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has posted images of himself holding tax documents online, to attest to his innocence of charges of tax evasion. Ai has published the pictures on his Google + page, despite the fact that the Google site is blocked in China.
Chinese authorities say Ai's company Fake Cultural Development Ltd. owes $2.3 million in back taxes, and have threatened to jail his wife – as the legal representative of the company – if the amount is not settled.
The artist paid $1.3 million towards the disputed bill into a tax bureau account this week. The payment allows him to continue to fight accusations of 'economic crimes' that have been leveled at him by the Chinese government.
Ai's tax bill caused outrage among some Chinese netizens and inspired an online movement to raise the cash. Some 30,000 contributors donated money to the artist.
Ai Weiwei told News Stream he plans to challenge the rest of the charges against him, but is not optimistic about winning his legal appeal.
He spoke to us from a park near to his house in Beijing, and admitted his movements are under constant scrutiny.