Ai Weiwei pulls Danish exhibitions in protest at migrant law

Ai Weiwei pulls Danish exhibitions in protest at migrant law

Ai Weiwei pulls Danish exhibitions in protest at migrant law

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei stands at a beach where refugees and migrants arrive daily on the Greek island of Lesbos, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said he would withdraw from two exhibitions in Denmark to protest against an asylum law passed by parliament that included rules on confiscating valuables from migrants to help pay for their stay. 

His decision is the latest in a cultural backlash against Denmark which on Jan. 26 passed the measures aimed at deterring refugees from seeking asylum. 

Cartoons in newspapers around the world lambasted the move, including one by Steve Bell in Britain’s Guardian showing Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen wearing a Nazi-like uniform. 

Ai, known for his criticism of China’s human rights record, said in an Instagram post on Jan. 27 he was shocked the Danish government had “decided to seize refugees’ private property.” 

“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 was also closing his exhibition “Ruptures” at the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen. 

The prime minister’s office 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.