Ai Weiwei has revealed that Chinese authorities intend to close down Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, the firm through which Ai conducts his business affairs and which is accused of avoiding a 15m RMB tax bill that has repeatedly landed Ai in court.
Tania Branigan at the Guardian on the latest developments:
Officials said this weekend they were removing Fake Cultural Development’s business licence because it had not met annual registration requirements. The company has been unable to do so because police confiscated all its materials and its stamp when they detained Ai last year.
“I think it could be an excuse not to give us a fine,” the artist added. Ai’s lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, said it was not clear how Fake could pay the 6.6m yuan outstanding if it had no licence. But he added that he had filed a request for a hearing into its closure.
Ai’s response was mixed but characteristically upbeat:
Of course we have lost the battle – they kept our [tax deposit]. But I think we have won the war. We gave people a clear understanding of what the Fake case was about and how they handled it.
Chinese authorities could not be reached for comment as the decision to revoke FCD’s licence was conveniently made just before all the official spokesman went on holiday for Mid Autumn Festival.