A Beijing court has rejected an appeal by artist and government critic Ai Weiwei against a more than $2 million fine for tax evasion.
Ai, who was detained by Chinese authorities for three months last year, was barred from the court where the verdict was read Friday.
His lawyer Pu Zhiqiang says the court ruled that authorities used legal procedures in their case against Ai's design company. But Pu claims the ruling was made "totally without reason."
Ai says the tax evasion case is part of an intimidation campaign to stop him from criticizing the government.
Security was heavy outside the Chaoyang District Court. Plainclothes and uniformed police were blocking roads and forcing media and diplomats to leave the area.
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