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"We can pay this money, but we need to know why we have to," Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says Tuesday of China's demand for $2.4 million in back taxes and fines from the dissident, who was detained for nearly three months earlier this year. "We cannot just unwittingly hand over a sum of money." (Kyodo News via the Associated Press)

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ASSOCIATED PRESS Activist and artist Ai Weiwei talks to journalists gathered outside his home in Beijing on June 23 after his release from government detention. He is challenging tax evasion charges and a $1.85 million tax bill. Chinese authorities previously have said Mr. Ai was released after he confessed to tax evasion and pledged to repay the money owed.

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** FILE ** Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei gives an interview at his studio in Beijing in January 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, File)

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The unveiling Wednesday of 12 bronze animal heads by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the courtyard of London's Somerset House is part of a global reaction to the artist's arrest. The heads represent the Chinese zodiac. (Associated Press)

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A two-story black-and-white photograph of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is hung outside the Lisson Gallery in London. China's rulers have refused to say where Mr. Ai is after his arrest more than a month ago, prompting a global show of support. (Associated Press)

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Detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's likeness is sprayed on a Hong Kong sidewalk with the words, "Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei?" The social activist was taken into police custody April 3 and is being investigated for allegedly evading his taxes, a Hong Kong newspaper reported. (Associated Press)

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Pro-democracy protesters hold a picture of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong on Sunday, April 10, 2011, as they demand his release. Mr. Ai's sister says police still have not told the family where he is being held or why, nearly a week after he was grabbed at a Beijing airport. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

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** FILE ** Lu Qing, wife of avant-garde artist and outspoken government critic Ai Weiwei, listens during an interview in Beijing on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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"He felt a premonition that he would be detained," said Lu Qing, wife of Ai Weiwei. (Associated Press)

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Artist and government critic Ai Weiwei was barred from boarding a plane and taken into custody on Sunday. (Associated Press)