Teresa May, Britain’s Home secretary has ordered officials to issue the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei a full six-month UK visa, reversing an earlier decision not to grant him the travel document. This afternoon she told the BBC that she was personally “looking into” the case of the dissident Chinese artist, who had been refused a six-month visa by the British government.
Mr Ai had been accused of lying on his visa application form”. The artist’s request for a six month visa was rejected by the Entry Clearance Manager from the UK Visas and Immigration department, resulting in him posting the letter on Instagram. It has now gone viral.
The letter stated that his entry to the UK was restricted because he failed to declare his “criminal conviction”. However Mr Ai, although detained in China for 81 days in 2011, has never been charged or convicted of an offence in China. He was only granted a 20-day visa to attend the opening of his Royal Academy Exhibition set to open 15 September in London.
This restricted him from personally supervising the installation of his major solo show. This afternoon, a Home Office spokesperson said: “This case did not come to the Home Secretary, and she is now looking into it.” It has now been resolved and a visa issued.
Earlier, he Tibetan activist Jigme Ugen reiterated on Twitter that the artist’s “outrageous” visa denial is connected to Chinese president Xi Jinping’s scheduled state visit to London in October. Despite being denied a six-month business visa, the artist was granted a twenty-day visa which would allow him to attend the opening of his upcoming show at London’s Royal Academy.
Ai Weiwei is currently in Germany visiting his son. He reportedly had no problem obtaining a visa in that country.
Photo: Via Twitter