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Thousands Send Money To China's Ai For Tax Bill

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei said today that thousands of people have sent him hundreds of thousands of dollars, in protest against what they see as an unfair government tax bill.

The donation campaign came in the form of wire transfers, envelopes in the mail, and even cash sent over his gate as paper airplanes.

Ai said that more than 16,000 people have sent about 3.5 million yuan ($550,000) since he announced a week ago that the Beijing tax bureau was demanding that he pay 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines.

Ai, an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist, was detained for nearly three months earlier this year.

The detention and subsequent claims of tax evasion have been seen by activists as a way to punish him for his often-outspoken criticism of the authoritarian government.

compiled from agency reports