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U-turn on decision to deny Chinese artist 6-month visa

The Home Secretary has ordered immigration officials to issue a full six-month business visa to dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, reversing a decision to only allow him into the country for less than three weeks.

Theresa May reviewed the decision after human rights experts voiced anger over the decision when the artist, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, was denied the full visa.

Ai Weiwei will now be granted the full six-month visa Credit: Reuters/Ai Weiwei

In a letter posted to his Weiwei's Instagram account, officials said they refused him a longer stay as he he had not declared a previous "criminal conviction" - despite supporters denying he had ever even been charged.

He was secretly detained, his passport confiscated and later fined for alleged unpaid taxes, though his supporters argued this was merely a politically-motivated punishment for his views.

His passport was only returned last week, and he had hoped to visit Britain in the autumn to coincide with an exhibition of his work at the London Royal Academy of Arts.

A Home Office spokesman said Ms May was not consulted on the original decision, adding:

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.

– Home Office spokesman


Chinese stock market suffers 8% nosedive overnight

The Chinese stock market has plunged more than eight per cent - its biggest one-day drop in eight years.

The CSI300 index, consisting of 300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, fell 8.6 percent, to just over 3,818 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC lost 8.5 percent, to little over 3,725 points.

The drops - the biggest since February 27, 2007 - come as a government-triggered rebound petered out amid concerns over the economy and fears of a tightening of regulations around Beijing's loose monetary policies.

British tourists arrested in China accused of 'terror'

A group of 20 tourists, including Britons, South Africans and an Indian, have been arrested in northern China, on suspicion that they had ties to a "terror group".

11 of the tourists are being released, but the rest are being held without charge at a detention centre in Inner Mongolia, a South African disaster relief charity, Gift of the Givers Foundation, some of whose members have been detained, said.

Chinese authorities say that some of those arrested had been watching propaganda videos from a banned group in their hotel room.

"Consular staff have visited the group to provide assistance and we are liaising with Chinese authorities," a British Foreign Office spokesman told Reuters.


62mph winds hit China ahead of 'super typhoon' Chan-Hom

Winds reaching 62 mph winds have smashed into China amid 'super typhoon' Chan-Hom.

The typhoon Chan-Hom is moving northwestward from the East China Sea at a speed of 20 km per hour and is forecast to land somewhere between Rui'an and Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province later.

Heavy rains caused flooding in low-lying regions of the county and damaged power facilities.

Hundreds of Chinese companies halt trading

Credit: Reuters

Some 787 listed firms in China - the world's second-biggest economy - have paused trading today as prices of some fell by more than 50 percent.

Emergency measures implemented by the Chinese government have failed to stop the decline of Shanghai Composite Index, which has tumbled more than 30 percent since early June.

Some investors fear that China's market turmoil poses a bigger risk to the real economy than the crisis in Greece.

I've never seen this kind of slump before. I don't think anyone has. Liquidity is totally depleted.

– Du Changchun, Northeast Securities analyst
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