Supporters Send $840K for Ai Weiwei Tax Bill

But state paper accuses him of 'illegal fundraising'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2011 11:23 AM CST
Ai Weiwei Supporters Send $840K for Chinese Dissident's Tax Bill
In this Nov. 17, 2010 file photo, artist Ai Weiwei arrives at the Wenyuhe court to support fellow artist Wu Yuren during his trial in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Ai Weiwei has raised $840,000 toward his $2.4 million tax bill, thanks to nearly 20,000 people who have sent in donations to the Chinese artist and dissident. But Ai—who views the money received as loans, not donations—says he will repay it all, though, the Christian Science Monitor notes, without interest. But the donations mean that now he could be in trouble for “illegal fundraising,” according to a state-run newspaper.

Supporters have sent money in ways ranging from the traditional (wire transfers) to the unconventional (money wrapped around fruit or folded into paper airplanes and thrown over his gate). Along with the funds, they have sent messages like “Brother, let me be your creditor,” and “Walk toward the light, the darkness will pass.” Ai tells the AP, “This shows … that in the Internet age, society will have its own judgment and its own values.” (More Ai Weiwei stories.)

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