China's Ai Weiwei bedecks beard with Lego bricks after firm backs down

Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:57am EST
 
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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei published photos of himself with Lego hanging off his moustache and beard on Wednesday, celebrating the toymaker's decision to back down on rules that blocked his bulk order of bricks.

Lego said on Tuesday it had dropped restrictions on large orders after facing a storm of criticism for declining his request for pieces for a large public work in Australia in October.

Ai, known for his criticism of China's rights record, had accused the Danish toymaker of censorship and set up collection points for people to send him bricks.

Lego said at the time it had a long-running policy of not fulfilling bulk orders or donating bricks if they knew they would be used as part of a "political agenda".

But it said in a statement on Tuesday it would stop asking people why they wanted its products.

It did not refer directly to Ai's order, but acknowledged that the rules "could result in misunderstandings or be perceived as inconsistent".

Customers wanting to build public displays out of Lego bricks would now only have to make it clear that the company did not endorse the project, it added.

The free speech campaigner published photos of himself with Lego bricks hanging off his hair, moustache and beard on his Instagram and Facebook accounts. The Instagram post included a grinning emoji symbol, but no further comment.

"So sweet, congratulations," wrote one supporter on Facebook.   Continued...

 
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei addresses journalists during a news conference about his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos where about 500,000 refugees and migrants arrived last year, in Athens, January 1, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis