A decision is expected on Thursday on whether the Chinese courts will accept Ai Weiwei‘s second appeal against the 15 million RMB tax evasion charge brought against him in November, 2011. Reuters spoke to the dissident artist:
Ai, who has waged a near five-month long legal battle with a Beijing tax agency, said on Wednesday that he had little hope of winning the second appeal.
“We will keep trying, we will not stop,” Ai, 55, told Reuters by telephone.
“This price is large, but if I don’t bear this, it will be a loss to society.”
Ai was barred from appearing in court to challenge the charges in person. In its 2012 World Report Human Rights Watch cited the Chinese “government’s overt hostility towards genuine judicial independence” and found that “miscarriages of justice frequent”.
As well as court appearances, Ai will also miss the opportunity to attend the opening of the first survey of his work in North America, or take up his position as visiting professor at Berlin University of the Arts, as the Chinese government still has his passport.
A documentary about the artist, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, received a standing-ovation at the Sundance Festival this year, where it also won the Special Jury Prize.