A Chinese court has upheld a $2 million fine for tax evasion against Ai Weiwei. Chinas’s most famous dissident was not even allowed to attend the hearing. DW spoke to his lawyer Pu Zhiqiang.
Deutsche Welle: Ai Weiwei wasn't able to appear in court today…
Pu Zhiqiang: The police prevented Ai Weiwei from taking part in the hearing and that's illegal. That's why we are going to sue the Beijing police authority.
So it's the police who detained him?
Yes, they did not let him leave the house.
What is your opinion on today's verdict?
I think the verdict that the court declared today goes against the law. The whole proceedings against Ai Weiwei lack all legal foundation. From the time of his initial arrest by the police to the punitive measures of the tax authorities to the attempt to rob him of the right to attend a public hearing.
Are you going to appeal?
Yes, we are.
What's the timeframe?
According to the law, an appeal can be made 15 days after the verdict. The court will then start an examination procedure. Then a trial has to be opened within two months.
What are the chances? Will the court get onto the case rapidly?
The preparations for the 18th Party Congress are currently underway. I think the verdict will be announced before the end of September.
Interview: Haiye Cao / act
Editor: Arun Chowdhury