Ai Weiwei to Thousands of Supporters: Please Sue Me

Dissident artist's unusual move comes on heels of tax-case loss
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 20, 2012 8:19 AM CDT
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei listens as his lawyer announces over a speakerphone the verdict of Ai's lawsuit against the Beijing tax authorities in Beijing Friday, July 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – Ai Weiwei today lost his challenge against tax evasion charges and the $2.4 million fine China has slapped him with—but he once again wasn't allowed into court to make his case, he says. Police barred him from attending today's court date, calling him to explicitly tell him to stay away and ringing his studio with cars, just as they did last month during his first scheduled appearance. He plans to appeal, he tells CNN, but if the appeals don't work, Weiwei has an unusual backup plan: He's asking his own supporters to sue him.

After thousands of well-wishers donated cash to cover his back taxes and fines in November, he provided them with 13,000 IOUs. Now, he says, he can't afford to fulfill those promises, so he's asking recipients to sue him—thus keeping him in court "for the next 20 years." China requires that defendants appear in court. (Read more China stories.)

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