Acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been at the forefront of controversy in his country since Chinese officials have been escalating their campaign to silence the outspoken artist turned social activist.
Weiwei is facing charges of tax evasion and last Friday officials launched an investigation into charges that he is manufacturing pornography due to a photograph taken over a year ago.
The artist’s followers have been rallying behind him responding to the allegations by giving him $2.3 million in donations for the tax claims and now even protesting against the pornography allegations by posting nude photographs of themselves online.
More than 100 people around the world have uploaded nude photographs online in a rare form of protest that is not common in Chinese society.
Protestors have uploaded a variety of shots with some covering their private parts with pictures of Weiwei and others superimposing themselves onto popular tourist destination sites such as Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
“If they see nudity as pornography, then China is still in the Qing dynasty,” Weiwei told the AP.
Weiwei and his attorneys argue that the allegations are politically motivated and are being used as a method to silence the activist.
The 54-year-old artist has been an advocate for social justice in Chinese society, questioning inequality and elitism in the rapidly developing country.
The outspoken critic of China’s Communist Party caused international outcry when he was detained last April for 81 days by secret police. Upon his release, Weiwei was handed at $2.4 million tax bill from the Chinese government.
Weiwei is one of China’s most notable artists and has been at the forefront of China’s experimental art scene since the 1970s. He was pivotal in designing the Bird’s Nest for China’s Olympic Stadium for the 2008 Beijing games.