Date
21 January 2017
Ai Weiwei (right) helps an Afghan migrant as he arrives with other refugees and migrants on a raft on the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday. Photo: Reuters
Ai Weiwei (right) helps an Afghan migrant as he arrives with other refugees and migrants on a raft on the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Ai pulls art from Danish shows over new migrant law

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said he is withdrawing from two exhibitions in Denmark to protest against a new law allowing the confiscation of valuables from migrants to help pay for their stay.

Denmark’s parliament on Tuesday passed the measures aimed at deterring refugees from seeking asylum in the country.

Ai, known for his criticism of China’s human rights record, said in an Instagram post on Wednesday he was shocked the Danish government had “decided to seize refugees’ private property”, Reuters reported.

“As a result of this regrettable decision, I must withdraw from your exhibition “A New Dynasty. Created In China” to express my protest of the Danish government’s decision,” Ai said, addressing exhibition organizers at art museum ARoS in Aarhus.

Ai’s work “Yu Yi”, a 12-meter-long man made of bamboo, is part of the exhibition of Chinese contemporary art which ARoS has run since November. It was due to end in May.

“We are now awaiting further developments,” the museum said.

Ai said he is also closing his exhibition “Ruptures” at the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen.

The office of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the Culture Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Last year Ai accused Lego of censorship after the Danish toymaker initially declined to fulfil a bulk order for him due to his political activism. Lego later dropped restrictions.

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