Ai Weiwei was denied a six month visa earlier this week by the British government. Originally, the authorities were only going to let him stay for three weeks and the artist broke the controversial news on his Instagram with a picture of the letter declining his request. The letter seemed to imply that he he’d committed a criminal offence that prevented him from obtaining a full six month visa.
However, the UK government has changed its mind. Home Secretary Theresa May has ordered the Home Office to grant the artist the full six month visa. A government spokesperson told Sky News:
"The Home Secretary was not consulted over the decision to grant Mr Ai a one-month visa," said the spokesperson. "She has reviewed the case and has now instructed Home Office officials to issue a full six-month visa. We have written to Mr Ai apologising for the inconvenience caused."
Ai Weiwei will now be able to attend his retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy – opening in September – and will possibly still be in Britain at the time that China’s President XiJinping visits London. It’s fair to say that the two have had their differences.