A court in China has dismissed an appeal by the artist and dissident Ai Weiwei against a tax evasion fine, after barring him from attending a court hearing.
Ai had asked the court to overturn the appeal against the penalty of around 2 million euros, which was imposed on the Beijing company that produces his art designs.
The artist said: “I think in recent years the greatest efforts China has taken to maintain stability have been in trying to eliminate any person who wants to speak the truth.
“If a person wants to give his own opinions on what’s really going on in this country, he is already committing a crime.”
Government attempts to quieten Ai have frequently backfired, as demonstrated by an outpouring of public sympathy and even cash in response to the tax penalty.
The fine is not expected to put a dent in his finances nor tarnish his reputation.