The Straits Times
Published on Oct 02, 2012

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's company faces shutdown


BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese authorities will shut down the company founded by Ai Weiwei, his lawyer said on Tuesday, in the latest step in what the dissident artist has called a campaign of persecution to silence his activism.

Ai's lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan said the business license of the company, Fake Cultural Development, would be revoked for failing to follow annual registration requirements.

The burly, wispy-bearded Ai, 55, has been under pressure over government allegations of tax evasion by the company, resulting in a US$2.4 million (S$2.9 million) fine by the Beijing tax bureau last year.

The internationally renowned avant-garde artist, who denies the allegations, has emerged as a fierce government critic, often through his prolific use of the Internet and social media.