Lifestyle & Belief

Ai Weiwei gets concert dedication from Sir Elton John in Beijing


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei waits for his lawyer to return from a court hearing at his compound in Beijing on July 20, 2012.


Ed Jones

Ai Weiwei was "deeply touched" on Sunday night after pop star Sir Elton John dedicated his concert in Beijing to the dissident artist. 

Elton told the audience that his performance was dedicated "to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei," the Associated Press reported

Ai is a controversial figure in China, largely seen as a thorn in the Beijing government's side. His installation and video art draws attention to social injustices in China, and he has been subject to close scrutiny and detainment. He was released after three months of being detained last year, but is still barred from leaving the mainland.

The artist tweeted about the concert dedication, though his Twitter remains banned in China. Photos of Elton and Ai together were also reportedly taken down from his Sina Weibo portal, according to the Hollywood Reporter

More from GlobalPost: Guatemala invites Elton John, U2, Sting and more for 'end of the world' party

"I'm in love with him, although we only spent less than ten minutes together. He's sincere and generous," Weiwei said, according to the Shanghaist

"I couldn't believe my ears … I was quite surprised and was deeply touched," Ai told the South China Morning Post. "I am very impressed by his free spirit - he was very honorable and decent in what he did."

There have also been concerns raised about how John's performances will be affected as a result of him praising Ai. 

“I predict controls will be tightened in approving artistic performances [in China], especially those involving foreign artists,” wrote local blogger ratbit in response to the Chinese artist's tweets, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

More from GlobalPost: Ai Weiwei's design license revoked

[View the story "Elton John dedicates Beijing concert to Ai Weiwei" on Storify]