Saturday, June 23, 2012
Just in case anyone was naive enough to believe that the Chinese government's tax case against Ai Weiwei was really about tax and not just a flimsy cover for harassment on political grounds, the Chinese government itself has once again helpfully made its real motivations clear. Readers may recall that Ai Weiwei was originally taken away with no notice being given to his family of his whereabouts, held incommunicado for three months, accompanied 24/7 by uniformed police who were never more than 30 inches away, and subjected to intensive interrogation about his blog and other matters, but never about tax issues. Not typical treatment for someone suspected of evading taxes. (See NYT article here.)
Ai subsequently brought a lawsuit against the Beijing tax authorities, which was surprisingly accepted by the court. But on Wednesday (June 20) he was blocked from attending a hearing in his own case.
Apologist-du-jour Eric Li seems not to have gotten the memo: he still says that Ai Weiwei got into trouble (and properly so) for speech offenses.