Ai Weiwei Can Leave China, But the UK's Not Keen on Having Him

By Gary Cutlack on at

The UK immigration and visas department is the latest state authority to have a go at artist Ai Weiwei, who's proudly back in possession of his Chinese visa -- but not being made to feel welcome over here.

The UK's immigration service has turned down Weiwei's request for a six-month visa, instead offering him a 20-day stay. Weiwei revealed the snub on his Instagram account alongside a photo of a toilet (art!) where the artist or one of his muses explained: "In a letter, the department states that 'It is a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China', and in further conversations, referencing news about Ai's secret detention by the Chinese authorities in 2011 and the tax case for Fake Design."

Weiwei pointed out that he wasn't actually charged with anything by the Chinese despite his spells under arrest, but that didn't help. He's since posted the full letter from UK Visas & Immigration, which makes it sound like the 20-day stay is being offered as a favour -- and his visa saying it exists "OUTSIDE OF THE RULES" on it -- due to Weiwei apparently being rumbled lying about his past. Even though... he wasn't really. [Instagram via Boing Boing]