Photograph: Andy Wong/AP

Detained artist Ai Weiwei seems to be in good physical health but mentally conflicted and tense, his wife has said after seeing him for the first time in six weeks.

Lu Qing said she was taken to see her husband for about 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon, the first contact friends and relatives have had with the 53-year-old Chinese artist and activist since officials stopped him at Beijing airport on 3 April.

It is not clear where he is being held and the people who arranged the visit did not show her identification, she added.

“I could see redness in his eyes. It was obvious that without freedom to express himself he was not behaving naturally even with me, someone from his family,” Lu told Associated Press. “He seemed conflicted, contained, his face was tense.”


Tania Branigan