Art News

China’s Ai Weiwei will fight tax charges "to the death"

BEIJING (REUTERS).- Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei vowed Wednesday to fight tax evasion charges “to the death,” a day after the government ordered a company linked to him to pay 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines. The 54-year-old artist, who has been a thorn in the government’s side for his satirical art and criticism of contemporary China, was detained without charge for 81 days this year in a move that drew criticism from Western governments. He was released in late June on condition that he not talk to foreign media, since when he has mainly kept to himself and has been reluctant to accept interviews. But in a two-hour interview with Reuters, Ai, who had a hand in designing the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, showed flashes of his previously fiery self. “Will a person like Ai Weiwei surrender?” In my dictionary, there’s no such word ‘surrender’,” the bearded artist said