Ai Weiwei Barred from Court

By The Associated Press 20 July 2012

BEIJING—Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says he has been barred from a Beijing court where a verdict will be delivered on his company’s appeal of a more than US $2 million fine for tax evasion.

Security was heavy Friday outside the Chaoyang District Court. Plainclothes and uniformed police were blocking roads and forcing media and diplomats to leave the area.

Ai case the tax evasion case is part of an intimidation campaign to stop him from criticizing the government. He spent nearly three months in police detention last year.

Ai wants the court to overturn a tax office’s rejection of an appeal against the fine and back taxes imposed on Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., which oversees his art and designs, for tax evasion.