China accuses Weiwei company of not paying taxes for a decade

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The Independent Online

Chinese authorities told representatives of the outspoken artist Ai Weiwei's design firm yesterday that the company had not paid corporate taxes for a decade, but did not allow them to keep documents showing the alleged offence.

The representatives, who included Ai's wife, were shown the documents at a hearing they had been granted to challenge a $1.8m (£1.1m) tax bill delivered by authorities after the dissident was released from nearly three months' detention.

The artist was the most high-profile target of a sweeping crackdown on activists this year and his detention prompted an international outcry, with some countries saying it was a sign that the human rights situation in China is deteriorating.

Tax officials visited Ai's studio late last month to say his design company Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd owed $770,000 in back taxes from the past decade and $1.1m in fines.