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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei sets up live webcams at his home

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Artist and fierce government critic Ai Weiwei has turned the tables on China's Communist regime by transforming a crippling tax fine he says is designed to silence him into a huge wave of solidarity.

 

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei turned his life into an unscripted version of Big Brother when he set up four live webcams at his home, BBC reported

Ai told the AFP he hoped the cameras -- which include one filming him while he sleeps -- will encourage transparency from all sides, BBC reported.

The artist was detained for three months last year during an overall crackdown on dissent. Following his release, authorities demanded his design company pay 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) in back taxes and fines. Activists interpreted the penalty as punishment for his criticism of the authoritarian government. He is now banned from leaving Beijing.

Ai insists he has done nothing wrong. He said the tax case against his company appeared designed to damage his reputation while intimidating him and preventing him from "taking part in public affairs and criticizing the government."


The artist was detained April 3 and released June 22. Chinese authorities have said that although Ai was released, he is technically still under investigation for at least a year and could be brought in for further questioning at any time.

According to the BBC, Ai said he had "no clear answers" about why he was placed under surveillance.

"In my life, there is so much surveillance and monitoring... our office has been searched, I have been searched, every day I am being followed, there are surveillance cameras in front of my house," he told the AFP news agency, according to the BBC.

"So I was wondering, why don't I put some [cameras] in there so people can see all my activities. I can do that and I hope the other party can also show some transparency."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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