Ai Weiwei, Accused of Owing Taxes, Fires Back: ‘I Will Fight Them to the Death’

Ai Weiwei. (Photo by Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images)

A day after artist and dissident Ai Weiwei confirmed that the Chinese government had served him with a $2.4 million tax bill, he said that he will fight the accusations, in an interview with the Associated Press. Many experts believe the charges are politically motivated, as the artist has been a fierce critic of the Chinese regime.

Mr. Ai is absolutely scathing in his comments on the recent crackdown on dissent in China, stating:

“Ordinary people will not be able to endure this. But because they’ve targeted me, I’m still willing to accompany them on this road. Because I’m not afraid of them. I think it’s improper that a country is engaging in shameless activities.”

As he has in the past, Mr. Ai also took to Twitter to lambaste his accusers. According to a website that translates his messages into English, he wrote:

“Abusing powers in retaliation, unscrupulously eliminating dissidents, enforced disappearances, secret detentions, criminal penalties, the police, tax agency, foreign affairs and Xinhua news agency worked together to trump up a charge, showing contempt for morals and judicial fairness. This is sufficient for people to fear, yet what truly renders people hopeless is their self-recognition and worldview are becoming our reality today.”

According to the AP, under Chinese law, Mr. Ai’s wife may face jail time if he does not pay the tax bill, since she is listed as the legal representative of his company, Fake Ltd. “And for a country like that,” he told the service, “I will fight them to the death.”

Ai Weiwei, Accused of Owing Taxes, Fires Back: ‘I Will Fight Them to the Death’