As hoped, momentum is building as a flood of donations is coming in to help Ai Weiwei pay his enormous tax bill of over 15 million RMB ($2.3 million).
The latest update now is 4.7 million RMB has been donated and Ai believes this is the public's way of voicing its dissatisfaction with the government.
"They're saying... this is our ticket to vote, this is the only chance we have to express our feelings... [they're doing this] to express their own opinions," he said yesterday.
He said he was "very touched" by the nearly 17,600 people who have donated the money either through remittances through the post office, PayPal or even folding the bank notes into paper airplanes that they throw into Ai's compound in Beijing.
"I'm more than touched -- I feel the world is beautiful and our young people are full of imagination, and there is solidarity in people's hearts," he said.
Ai stressed he was treating the donations as loans and would pay "every penny" back. "I'll try not to touch this money... and I'll return it as quickly as possible," he said. "But I'm happy to see I'm not fighting alone."
He said he would try to use his own money to pay the first installment of 8 million to 9 million RMB by November 16.
The Global Times, a state-run newspaper warned in a commentary yesterday using unnamed experts (ie. not credible) that Ai could be engaging in "illegal fundraising" by accepting the donations to pay his tax bill.
However, Liu Xiaoyuan, a rights lawyer said accepting donations with the intention of paying back without interest cannot be defined as illegal fundraising.
Sounds like a really pathetic attempt by the government to continue to thwart Ai and his supporters. If anything, it just emboldens them to help Ai even more.