Ai Weiwei closes Denmark exhibition over refugee laws

Chinese artist protests at controversial Danish legislation, which allows valuables and cash to be seized from refugees.

Ai WeiWei
Ai's decision was backed by the institute in Copenhagen where the exhibition was showing [Ai Weiwei via Instagram]

Renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has closed an exhibition in Copenhagen in protest against the Danish parliament’s approval of laws to deter asylum seekers from entering the country.

Weiwei announced the closure of his “Ruptures” exhibition on Wednesday in a decision that was backed by the Faurschou Foundation art institute in the Danish capital, where the exhibition was showing.

“This decision follows the Danish parliament’s approval of the law proposal that allows seizing valuables and delaying family reunions for asylum seekers,” Ai wrote on his Instagram page.

The 58-year-old activist has been sharing pictures and videos on his personal Instagram account, drawing attention to the plight of the thousands of refugees risking stormy waters to escape war and hardship.

READ MORE: Ai Weiwei’s photos from Lesbos capture refugee life

The raft of anti-immigration measures passed by Denmark on Tuesday include extending the reunification time period after which family members outside can rejoin refugees in the country from one year to three years.

It also allows the confiscation of refugees’ cash exceeding 10,000 kroner ($1,450), prompting comparisons to Nazi Germany, which confiscated the goods of Jews during World War II.

The law will also allow for asylum seekers’ belongings to be searched.

Cash and proceeds from the sale of valuables belonging to refugees will be used to pay for their stay in Denmark.

The Danish legislation has been criticised by a raft of human rights organisations. The Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, said the law violates fundamental property rights.

Source: Al Jazeera