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Banned In China: Ai Weiwei's 'Gangnam Style' Video

Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei is pushing authorities' buttons again, this time with a "Gangnam style" video spoof that was quickly blocked from Chinese websites.

In the video, The Associated Press writes, "Ai sports a neon-pink T-shirt, black jacket and dark sunglasses and energetically mimics rodeo-style dance moves made famous by South Korean rapper PSY, whose original video became an Internet sensation."

What is Ai's message? The New York Times' The Lede blog says the artist "calls his version 'Grass-Mud Horse Style,' a reference to a Chinese Internet meme that employs a pun on an obscene phrase to mock government censorship of the Web." There's more on Ai's "obsession" with "grass mud horse" on The Washington Post's WorldViews blog.

As NPR's Louisa Lim has reported, Ai says "he has been forbidden from leaving China, despite the lifting of strict bail conditions imposed after he was released from detention last year."

His new video is posted here and we'll embed it below. We do need to repeat that he is playing around with obscenity, so the content may be offensive to some.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.