Beijing seeks $2m from freed artist

Beijing seeks $2m from freed artist

The 54-year-old artist was released on bail last Wednesday, a day before Premier Wen Jiabao left for Europe, where Britain and Germany have criticized Ai’s detention. On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Ai’s release as she met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Berlin.

Liu Xiaoyuan, a lawyer who has advised Ai’s family and is a friend of the artist, said that Ai had received a notice on Monday from the tax authorities requesting him to pay 5 million yuan in back taxes and 7 million yuan in fines.

“He has three days to raise any opinions in writing he might have (on the demand),” Liu said. “In accordance with the law on tax evasion, if he does not pay then he could be subject to legal action.”

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