The Chinese government is reportedly demanding $1.85 million in “evaded taxes and fines” from dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Since his release, Ai is under constant surveillance and forbidden to use Twitter or talk to the media. Security goons have just prevented him from meeting an artist friend at a park because it “wasn’t part of the deal.”
Previously, the Chinese government justified Ai’s kidnapping and disappearance with charges like “incitement of subversion of state power” and “distribution of pornography,” but after 80 days in detention, the artist confessed to speculative “economic crimes” was released – quiet and in bad health.
Similarly, prominent Chinese rights defender and HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia was released last Sunday after serving three and a half years in prison for “inciting subversion.” He also returned with a “chronic” health condition and a gag order.
Since February, 130 activists, lawyers, bloggers and Twitter users were arrested and kidnapped as part of the Chinese government’s Big Chill crackdown on the Jasmine Revolution. While some of them have been released, including Ai’s close associates, many remain in detention and those who return are “silenced.” (Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP Photo)