Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has criticised the government in Beijing after a parody video he made disappeared from Chinese websites.
It is a pastiche of the hugely popular Gangnam Style video by the Korean pop sensation Psy.
In it, Ai Weiwei dances with his friends in the courtyard of his studio in Beijing, even waving a pair of handcuffs in reference to his imprisonment last year.
They posted it on Tudou, the Chinese equivalent of the banned YouTube, but now it is not there.
“We only filmed for a bit over ten minutes, but we used a whole day to edit, and eventually put it online at midnight,” Ai said. “After we had uploaded it, just a few hours later, a few hours after we had started work, we found that a lot of people, tens of thousands, had already watched it. Now in China it has already been totally removed, deleted entirely, and you can’t see it in China”.
Ai parodied the name too, changing it to Caonima Style, a phrase of defiance adopted by dissidents against the government.
He said the song and dance were a grass-roots expression of individualism that should be allowed in his China.
“Overall, we feel that every person has the right to express themselves, and that is fundamentally linked to our happiness and even our existence. When a society constantly demands that everyone should abandon this right, then society loses its creativity and it can never become a happy society”.
Ai’s 81-day detention last year sparked an international outcry. He has regularly criticized the government for “flouting of the rule of law and the rights of citizens”.
Last month a Chinese court upheld a fine of nearly two million euros for tax evasion, after barring him from attending the hearing, in a case that critics accuse Beijing of using to muzzle the outspoken artist.