Chinese Strip to Support Ai Weiwei

Pornography probe provokes dissident artist's supporters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2011 8:12 AM CST
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei opens his jacket to reveal a shirt bearing his portrait as he walks into the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau.    (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

(Newser) – Supporters of outspoken artist Ai Weiwei are using their bodies as well as their cash to defend him against the Chinese government. In response to news that an Ai assistant might face pornography charges over a nude photo he took of Ai with four women last year, scores of supporters—including some well-known writers and bloggers—have posted nude photos of themselves online, some with photos of the artist covering their private parts, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"It is an expression of support for Ai Weiwei and scorn to the Chinese government. It shows our attitude and anger toward the government's behavior," says a Shanghai lawyer who is one of the more than 100 people who have put pictures up on a blog titled "Listen, Chinese Government: Nudity is not Pornography." "We are simply using an eye-catching way to attract people's attention," she says. After authorities hit the artist with a $2.4 million tax bill for alleged back taxes, supporters raised more than $1 million to help him, with some folding money into paper airplanes and sending them over the wall of his Beijing compound.

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