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Chinese court upholds dissident Ai Weiwei's tax fine

Petar Kujundzic / Reuters

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei reacts as he and journalists listen to the verdict of his court hearing over his phone on speaker at the courtyard of his studio in Beijing, July 20, 2012.

Reuters reports: A Chinese court on Friday upheld a $2 million fine for tax evasion against the country's most famous dissident, Ai Weiwei, after barring him from attending the hearing, in a case that critics accuse Beijing of using to muzzle the outspoken artist.

Ai had asked a Beijing court to overturn the city tax office's rejection of his appeal against the tax evasion penalty imposed on the company he works for, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., which produces his art and designs.  The artist said that Chinese police barred him from showing up in person, saying earlier he had "absolutely no hope" the court would rule in his favor. Continue reading the full story.