A day after Chinese artist, dissident and occasional heavy metal star Ai Weiwei was reportedly denied a six-month visa by the British government, the British Home Secretary ordered today that officials issue Ai the full visa.
According to a letter from the UK Visas and Immigration Department, which Ai posted to his Instagram account, the artist’s visa had originally been restricted to just 20 days because of his failure to declare a “criminal conviction”.
“It is a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China, and you have not declared this,” the letter read.
Ai, who had been detained for 81 days in 2011, has never actually been convicted of a crime in his home country, prompting supporters of the artist to criticize the UK government for the restriction.
According to the BBC, Home Secretary Theresa May has apologized to the artist for the “inconvenience” saying that her office had not been consulted over the decision.
Ai plans on attending the opening of his exhibition installation at the Royal Academy of Arts, which runs from September 19 to December 13. Ai’s visit had been restricted to September 9 through September 29, just before Chinese president Xi Jinping’s trip to the UK in October.
The artist just retrieved his passport earlier this month, after it had been in possession of the government for around four years. Seems like he might have caught the travel bug.
— 艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) August 1, 2015
by Alex Linder