Chinese artist Ai Weiwei appeals tax bill, fines

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei waves from the entrance of his studio after being released on bail in Beijing
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei waves from the entrance of his studio after being released on bail in Beijing June 23, 2011. David Gray / REUTERS
/ Source: The Associated Press

A lawyer for outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's design firm says it has challenged the $1.85 million tax bill delivered by authorities after Ai was released from nearly three months in detention.

Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said an appeal was filed Wednesday with the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau by Ai's wife, Lu Qing. She is the legal representative of his design company Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd.

Chinese authorities have said Ai was released after he confessed to tax evasion and pledged to repay the money owed.

His family has denied he evaded any taxes and activists say the accusations were a false premise for detaining Ai, who spoke out against the authoritarian government.

Pu says the appeal demands proof of the alleged tax evasion.