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 Ai Weiwei, pornography investigation, Chinese dissidence
Nude Tweets Defend Ai Weiwei Against Porn Allegations - ArtLyst Article image

Nude Tweets Defend Ai Weiwei Against Porn Allegations

21-11-2011
 
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As Ai Weiwei is accused of spreading pornography, his supporters tweet nude self-portraits in protest

The government harassment of Ai Weiwei has taken a surprising new turn: first he was abducted, then he was handed a £1.5m tax bill; now he being accused of spreading pornography.

Through it all, his supporters have stood by him, and this occasion is no different. With the news that Ai Weiwei’s cameraman is being questioned over pictures depicting the artist and four women naked, his supporters have begun to use Twitter to publish nude photographs of themselves in defiance.

While some are simple full-frontal shots, others have engaged more creatively with the protest, with one photo, for example, depicting a row of nine nude individuals each with Ai Weiwei's head superimposed over their genitals and nipples.

One contributor to the protest is Li Tiantian, a Shanghai lawyer who was herself detained earlier this year. Her photograph pictures her partially concealed by a mock censor graphic. ‘It is an expression of support for Ai Weiwei and scorn to Chinese government’, she explained. She believes that there is no doubt as to whether the accusations against Ai Weiwei are politically motivated: ‘There are so many pornography websites in China: they don't regulate them, yet say that this is spreading pornography’.

Another contributor is Hong Kong blogger Wen Yunchao, who is standing up for his belief that ‘The interpretation of people's naked bodies in itself is an individual freedom and a form of creative freedom’. Furthermore, ‘we don't see any pornographic elements in [Ai's] photographs. So we are using this extreme method to express our protest.’

This is all in response to the 4-hour interrogation of Zhao Zhao, the photographer responsible for the original pictures of Ai Weiwei, by Beijing police. Ai Weiwei has also been questioned by the authorities, but maintained that the pictures did not have a hidden political meaning and were not meant to criticise the government.

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