Ai Weiwei Receives More Than $800,000 in Donations to Help Pay Allegedly Unpaid Taxes

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Apparently one of the benefits of being repeatedly ranked as the most important artists of the year is that lots of people are more than willing to lend you a hand when the government is demanding cash. Over the summer, you might recall, information had gotten out about the laws that the Chinese government alleged artist Ai Weiwei of breaking and were the reason for his three-month detainment at their hands, primarily that he’d not paid a large amount in taxes. The Associated Press reports that the artist has received a good deal of help paying that total back, to the tune of more than $800,000 in donations sent by more roughly 20,000 people thanks to an online campaign. In return for the money, members of Weiwei’s company have sent sunflower seeds from the artist’s popular exhibit last year at the Tate Modern as a thank you. However, despite all this outpouring of goodwill, the news service also reports that “a state-run newspaper criticized the outpouring and warned it could be illegal.” Given the frequently combative relationship between the government and the artist, that certainly could wind up being the case.