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Chinese court upholds fine against dissident Ai Weiwei

Published on Sep 27, 2012 3:20 PM
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei waits outside the entrance of the Chaoyang District Court before attempting to attend his appeal verdict hearing in Beijing on Sept 27, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A Chinese court upheld a US$2.4 million (S$2.94 million) tax evasion fine against China's most famous dissident Ai Weiwei on Thursday, ending his long legal battle with the authorities but paving the way for him to be jailed if he does not pay.

The loss of Ai's second appeal in a higher court means that the world-renowned artist could risk arrest if he does not pay a remaining fine of around 6.6 million yuan (S$1.29 million), in a case that has further tarnished China's poor human rights reputation.

He has paid a bond of 8.45 million yuan already lodged with the tax authorities to contest the tax charge.

Ai, whose 81-day detention last year sparked an international outcry, said he will not pay the remaining fine as that would be tacit acknowledgement of the case's legality, which he has always maintained is trumped up.

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