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Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

PBS Will Screen ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’

Ai Weiwei in Bejing last year, after a court rejected his appeal on a tax fine. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Just a little public service announcement from the offices of The Observer: PBS sent over a note to say that it will show Alison Klayman’s very excellent documentary about Ai Weiwei, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012), as part of its Independent Lens program on Feb. 25. It’s a perfect chance to catch the film if you missed it as it screened in theaters across the United States last year! Read More

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei Loses Final Appeal in $2.4 M. Tax Case

Ai in Beijing today. (Courtesy Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s over.

Today, surprising no one, a Chinese court denied Ai Weiwei’s latest appeal of the $2.4 million in fines and back taxes he was ordered to pay last year after being held in detention for almost three months. Many observers believe the charges were motivated by his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government. The court declared that there will be no more appeals, The Guardian reported. Read More

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei: Communist Party’s Use of Legal System in Gu Kailai Case ‘Made Everyone Laugh’

Outside the Intermediate People's Court in Hefei, China, during Gu's trial. (Courtesy Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

In recent months artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has been a staunch and somewhat surprising defender of the rights of Bo Xilai, the senior politician who’s been accused of corruption, and his wife Gu Kailai, who was recently found guilty of murdering British businessman Neil Haywood with cyanide-laced water. Mr. Ai has stated repeatedly that everyone—even humiliated party leaders and their partners—deserve their days in court, as The New Republic‘s Marc Tracy has noted. (Disclosure: Mr. Tracy is a friend of this writer.) Read More

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei Involved in Beijing Blogger ‘Rumble in the Jungle’

A still from the video. (Courtesy Tencent)

Though the details of the affair are a bit unclear at the moment, it appears that Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei was involved in some sort of altercation between rival political bloggers in a Beijing park, according to The Telegraph, which reports that some are referring to the showdown as the “Chaoyang ‘Rumble in the Jungle.'”

In place of heavyweights George Foreman and Muhammed Ali in the bout were Wu Danhong, a political science and law professor accused of being paid to support government rhetoric, and a liberal journalist named Zhou Yan. The Financial Times reports that Mr. Zhou challenged Mr. Wu to a debate in the park after the two had battled in prose online. Read More

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei: Chinese Authorities Warn of New Charges for Pornography, Bigamy, ‘Illicit Exchange of Foreign Currency’

Mr. Ai with the official announcement that his one-year bail term has expired. (Courtesy Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the fact that today marked the expiration of the one-year bail term that Chinese officials had imposed on Ai Weiwei after detaining him last year for almost three months, it was not a good  day for the Chinese dissident and artist. After being blocked yesterday from attending a hearing on his company’s appeal of a $2.4 million tax fine (his wife attended in his place), he said that the government is now threatening to bring new charges against him. Read More