The Chinese government may have released Ai Weiwei on bail last week, but that doesn’t mean the pro-Democracy activist is in the clear, financially or otherwise.
Weiwei’s mother and two associates tell the New York Times that two tax officials showed up at his studio on Monday with a bill for the equivalent of roughly $750,000 in back taxes and another $1.1 million in fines.
The famed artist disagreed with the figures presented by the Chinese officials but declined to elaborate, the paper reports. His mother said that he would be willing to pay the necessary amount, but only after authorities “get the facts straight first.”
Weiwei has until Thursday to file an appeal, Reuters reports. If he doesn’t, he could be subject to additional “legal action,” according to his lawyer.
The artist’s current silence is a result of his strict bail conditions, which prevent him from speaking to the media about his case and also include a ban on travel and Twitter. Chinese authorities have said that they are continuing to investigate Weiwei, who was arrested on April 3 on a number of charges, including tax evasion.
As a condition of his release, Weiwei confessed to a failure to pay a “huge amount” of taxes and to intentionally destroying financial documents, according to state media.
Weiwei’s supporters, however, contend that his arrest – and subsequent imprisonment – was the result of his open criticism of the ruling Communist Party.