China artist Ai Weiwei court challenge fails

Ai Weiwei: "I never imagined the courts would be so unreasonable and so insulting"

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Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has again failed in a bid to challenge a tax evasion fine he says is politically motivated.

Tax authorities imposed a 15m yuan ($2.4m, £1.5m) fine on Mr Ai's firm for tax evasion in 2011.

His appeal was rejected in July and on Thursday a Beijing court rejected his challenge to that decision.

Mr Ai, who says he remains unable to leave the country, said the process had been a "struggle".

"The people in control always use the law to damage different ideas or people who have a different opinion.

"Today they are so rough and brutal; there is no space for any kind of communication," he told the BBC's World Update programme.

The artist, an outspoken critic of the government, was detained for almost three months without charge last year.

After he was released, he was accused of tax evasion and the fine imposed.

Chinese authorities maintain that the firm, called Fake Cultural Development, owes them money and it must be paid back.

Mr Ai said that during the entire legal process he had never seen the evidence against him and that it had not been presented in court.

He also said he has exhausted every avenue of appeal.

"We have been through every procedure; at every step we tried to make an effort. The result is very clear, nobody throughout the process showed any respect for the law. "

But he described the charges as a "fabrication" and said he would not pay the fine because of "the completely disgraceful nature of the charge".

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