Ai Weiwei Files Tax Lawsuit, ‘Guardian’ Op-Ed

At work. (Courtesy Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Activist and artist Ai Weiwei has been for the past few days rankling the Chinese government. On Friday, he announced that he had filed a lawsuit against “the No 2 inspection squad of the Beijing tax bureau,” according to The Guardian. The tax bureau has ordered his production company to pay $2 million in unpaid taxes, a move that many observers believe was in response to the artist’s criticism of the Chinese government. The court will rule whether to accept the case within a week.

Meanwhile, The Guardian published a new editorial by Mr. Ai over the weekend in which he condemns China’s censorship of the Internet and says it will fail. He argues, “[I]t’s not possible for them to control the internet unless they shut it off – and they can’t live with the consequences of that. The internet is uncontrollable.”

Navigating this web of censorship has become, in a sense, a part of the artist’s art practice and political strategy in recent years. A few weeks back he set up webcams to surveil himself. The government eventually nixed that move. Mr. AI admits:

“Trying to find possibilities through the difficulties can make life more interesting. I often see my cats put their toys in an area littered with obstacles, and their play becomes interesting and dramatic.”

Ai Weiwei Files Tax Lawsuit, ‘Guardian’ Op-Ed