After 81 days of detention without cause, a year-long travel ban extended for claims of internet “pornography,” and a $2.4 million dollar fine imposed for supposed tax evasion, Ai Weiwei has now been accused by the Chinese government of failing to re-register his architecture design firm, Fake Cultural Development Ltd.
According to Weiwei, the accusation, which will result in the company’s shutdown, is unfounded: because the government confiscated the documents necessary for registration during his tax evasion investigation, he couldn’t possibly have re-registered the firm.
Weiwei, who you may know for his work on the Bird’s Nest and on this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, has openly spoken out against the Chinese government’s censorship (even publicizing the number of schoolchildren killed during the 2008 earthquake due to shoddy, corruption-fueled construction). It’s these kinds of dissident acts that have led to a “campaign of persecution to silence his activism.”
Despite the escalating action taken against him, and imminent threat of arrest, Weiwei has vowed not to pay the fine that has been imposed on him. As he told Reuters: “If they shut down the company, then entities to pay any fine will not exist. I feel this waives any penalties for the company.”