The artist had his passport returned by the Chinese authorities last week

The artist had his passport returned by the Chinese authorities last week

Ai posted a letter on Instagram stating his entry to the UK had been restricted because he failed to declare his ?criminal conviction?.

But Ai, though detained in China for 81 days in 2011, has never been charged or convicted of a crime in China.

The artist was granted a 20-day visa to attend the opening of his London show.

However, it may mean he cannot supervise the installation of the landmark solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts which has a private preview on 15 September.

The letter, from the visa section of the British Embassy in Beijing, stated Ai?s entry to the UK ?has been restricted to the requested dates of travel? because you have failed to meet the business visitor rules?.

The document, signed by an entry clearance manager from the UK Visas and Immigration department, continued: ?It is a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China, and you have not declared this.

?While an exception has been made in this instance, any future application you submit must be completed as accurately as possible,? the letter concluded, adding the artist might otherwise face a 10-year ban if he did not comply.

In a separate post on Instagram, Ai stated he ?has never been charged or convicted of a crime? and had ?attempted to clarify this claim with the UK Visas and Immigration Department and the British Embassy in Beijing over several telephone conversations?.

?But the representatives insisted on the accuracy of their sources and refused to admit any misjudgement. This decision is a denial of Ai Weiwei?s rights as an ordinary citizen,? he added.

Last week, Ai had his passport returned to him after it was confiscated by authorities four years ago.

It was taken when he was arrested in 2011 during a government crackdown on political activists. He was held over alleged crimes of bigamy and tax evasion, but was released without charge.

Ai was fined 15m yuan ($2.4m, ?1.55m) for tax evasion in a civil case in 2012. The artist lost an appeal against the fine ? which he maintains was politically motivated in retaliation for his criticism of the Chinese government.

In a statement, Britain?s Home Office said visa applications were considered ?on their individual merits and in line with the relevant legislation?.

It added: ?Mr Ai has been granted a visa for the full duration of his requested dates of travel?.

Ai?s 20-day visa means he will not be in the UK when China?s President Xi Jinping make a high-profile state visit in October ? potentially avoiding any diplomatic embarrassment at a time when Britain is trying to improve relations with China.

The BBC has contacted the British Embassy in Beijing to query its decision, but has yet to receive a response.

The Royal Academy has yet to comment on the issue.

BBC

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