BEIJING (TIP): Authorities have detained an obscure Chinese artist after he posted online a humorous portrait of President Xi Jinping, his wife said on Thursday.
Judy Zhu said police accused her husband, Dai Jianyong, of “creating a disturbance” after detaining him on Tuesday near their Shanghai home.
Dai is known for posting eclectic photos on social media, including some showing himself and others scrunching up their lips and eyes. Dai posted images of Xi with the same expression while wearing a moustache.
Some online commentators have compared the Xi portrait to Adolf Hitler, although Dai’s Instagram image has much broader moustache than the small, square-shaped, “toothbrush moustache” associated with Hitler and Charlie Chaplin. Dai faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Shanghai police didn’t answer phone calls on May 28. Chinese artists have long walked a fine line between what they can express without getting into trouble with authorities.