England Overturns, Apologizes for Rejection of Ai Weiwei’s Six-Month Visa

Ai Weiwei holding his new passport. AI WEIWEI/INSTAGRAM

Ai Weiwei holding his Chinese passport, which he received last week from authorities after they held it for four years.


Following yesterday’s news that Ai Weiwei would only get a 20-day British visa instead of the six-month business visa he asked for, England revoked that decision—the Chinese artist now has a six-month British visa, the Associated Press reported earlier today.

The British Embassy in Beijing had initially refused to give Ai a full six-month visa because it claimed that Ai had been arrested, even though, on his application, Ai had indicated otherwise. As it turned out, it was Ai’s design firm, not the artist himself, that had faced charges for tax evasion. In response to the rejection of his application, Ai posted a series of Instagrams as a protest.

Today, however, British home secretary Theresa May reviewed the rejection of Ai’s six-month visa and overturned the British Embassy’s previous decision. AP reports that May also “apologiz[ed] for the inconvenience caused.”

Copyright 2019, Art Media ARTNEWS, llc. 110 Greene Street, 2nd Fl., New York, N.Y. 10012. All rights reserved.