Netizens in Nude Protest

Nude photos are posted online to show support for Chinese artist.
2011-11-21
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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei exercises in a car park in Beijing, Nov. 16, 2011.
AFP

Chinese netizens posted nude photos of themselves online over the weekend in support of controversial artist Ai Weiwei, who has said he may now face a probe for "pornography" because of an art photo in which he posed nude with four women.

Photos posted to the "Ai naked" hashtag on Twitter appeared to be in keeping with the artistic theme, and were aimed at mocking the government's use of pornography as a pretext for tighter Web censorship.

Top blogger Wen Yunchao posted a photo of himself at his desk, clad in his birthday suit. Other netizens carefully composed their shots so as to suggest nakedness without revealing all.

One man posing naked on a cold-looking shoreline covered his modesty with the image of the anti-censorship icon, the "grass-mud horse," a pun on a sexual expletive.

Ai welcomed the support on Monday.

"I love netizens," he said. "Any campaign they set in motion of their own accord is always very good."

"I think nakedness is very beautiful, and I am suspicious of people who fear it, because it's very truthful as well as being beautiful," he said.

In an apparent reference to Communist Party officials and police, he added: "No one was born wearing uniform, after all."

As if to underline his point, some netizens posted photos of their babies in the bath.

Shamelessness

Prominent social media activist Wu Gan, known online by his nickname "The Butcher," said netizens were protesting at the shamelessness of the authorities.

"[They] say [Ai's] photos are obscene, so we are taking nude shots to make a mockery of them," he said.

Ai's videographer Zhao Zhao was questioned by authorities on Friday over the nude shots, but said on Monday that no immediate action was being taken by police.

"They told me they had just received the case, which was 'transmitting obscene images,' and that they were beginning investigations," Zhao said.

"They said that all the people involved in the photos would be investigated, including Ai Weiwei."

"I think they have just come up with a new way to give him trouble."

Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the authorities had "taken note" of relevant news reports.

"The tax case against Ai Weiwei will continue to be investigated according to the due legal process of this country," Liu told a regular news briefing on Monday.

Meanwhile, Beijing-based activist Zeng Jinyan wrote via Twitter: "A protest of the body; a protest of art; a protest of life lived: all of these have more vitality than a mere political protest."

The photo at the center of the case is titled "One tiger, eight breasts," and shows a naked Ai sitting on traditional Chinese wooden furniture alongside four naked women.

Reported by Grace Kei Lai-see for RFA's Cantonese service, and by Xin Yu for the Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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Anonymous Reader

Many CCP officials who are in cahoots with the extralegal crackdown on Ai Weiwei have mistresses, often mistresses as young as their own daughters. It is totally hypocritical for them to self-righteously condemn Ai Weiwei for having used nudity in some of his art works. It is also very revealing of the uncultured and boorish quality of the typical CCP cadre who cannot appreciate the aesthetics of the human form.

Nov 28, 2011 12:11 PM