A Chinese court upheld a $2.4 million (1.4 million pounds) tax evasion fine against China's most famous dissident Ai Weiwei on Thursday, in a case that has badly tarnished the country's already poor human rights reputation.
Ai, whose 81-day detention last year sparked an international outcry, announced the court's decision to reporters.
Ai, 55, had asked the Chaoyang District Court to overturn the city tax office's rejection of his appeal against the 15 million yuan tax evasion penalty imposed on the company he works for, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, which produces his art and designs.
The case is widely seen by activists as an attempt to muzzle the outspoken artist, who has repeatedly criticised the Chinese government for not following the rule of law.
Courts, controlled by the ruling Communist Party, rarely accept lawsuits filed by dissidents and appeals against official decisions are routinely dismissed.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Writing by Ben Blanchard, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)
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