Ai Weiwei Closes Danish Exhibit to Protest Refugee Asset Seizures

Renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has forced the closure of one of his exhibits in Denmark in protest of the country’s new law allowing authorities to claim the assets of refugees to cover housing and food costs.

Ai’s Ruptures exhibition closed on Wednesday, according to staff at the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen. The exhibit was supposed to run until April 2016.

Danish authorities now will be able to seize valuables up to 10,000 kroner (About $1,500 or 9,600 yaun) from asylum seekers.

Parliament approved the law on Tuesday. It also approved a measure that would extend the amount of time refugees have to wait before applying for relatives to join them from one year to three years. Ai said he is protesting this law as well.

Exhibit owner Jens Faurschou said he supports Ai’s decision and expressed his own disappointment.

“It’s making a picture of Denmark and the Danes as a terrible country,” Faurschou told the BBC. “As a Danish passport holder, which I always have been happy to be, I am not happy today.”

The assets law has come under fire by the United Nations and human-rights groups including Amnesty International, which called it “mean spirited.”

Denmark says the law would be very similar to an old law requiring unemployed Danes to sell certain assets to claim certain benefits.

Critics argue that many unemployed Danes already have unemployment insurance that would prevent them from selling assets, and that they won’t be subject to the kind of searches the new laws would demand of refugees.

In response to criticism, Denmark has raised the amount of money refugees could keep from 3,000 kroner to 10,000 kroner.

The government has also said that valuables of sentimental value such as wedding rings would be exempt from seizure.

The new law also would shorten temporary residence permits, and further extend provisions required for permanent residence.

Denmark accepted 21,000 refugees in 2015..

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