Chinese artist Ai Weiwei visits Lesbos refugees

Athens (AFP) –


Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei paid a holiday visit to refugees and migrants flocking to the Greek island of Lesbos, tweeting out photos and videos in appeals for their plight.

He posted a video on Monday showing the arrival of the latest boatload of desperate people aboard a rubber dinghy to the island's shores from nearby Turkey.

The 58-year-old also retweeted photos, including one of him posing with Norwegian humanitarian workers from the group Drop in the Ocean.

Another shows him on a beach holding a child's life vest, an object that has come to symbolise the human cost of the migrant flight, with nearly 700 people having drowned in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece this year.

Others show the artist with newcomers registering at Lesbos's Moria Refugee Camp on Saturday.

The outspoken critic of the Chinese regime has made ample use of his passport since he got it back in July, four years after it was confiscated.

During a visit to London in September, the artist said he was "very proud" of the "civilised" welcome that Germany -- where his son lives -- has accorded to refugees.

Oscar-winning US actress Susan Sarandon also lent some star power to the cause of refugees with a pre-Christmas visit to Lesbos.

More than one million migrants and refugees reached Europe this year, mainly fleeing violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, of whom four in five travelled via the Greek islands.