Controversial artist Ai Weiwei posted this Instagram photo of himself holding his sock-clad leg as a gun. Next to the picture were the words: “Beijing Anti-Terrorism Series.”
Around the same time, he posted this other picture showing an all-woman dance troupe in a 2010 government competition, depicting students-turned-soldiers in the 1940s Communist revolution.
Ai later explained in an interview that he was drawing attention to the overuse of power “in the name of counter-terrorism.” He added: “Power is being used in the name of protecting you, but what they are actually doing is something which deserves a lot of discussion.”
While not specific, Ai could be referring to any number of recent incidents in communist China. The Chinese government recently launched an “anti-terrorism campaign” in the northwestern Xinjiang province, home of the Uighurs, an ethnic minority that practices Islam. Relations are often strained between the Uighurs and authorities in Beijing.
Some took the political message to heart, but many were just out for some leg gunning fun. Tens of thousands of photos have been shared, and Ai has picked hundreds for his site.