Shanghai artist detained after depicting Xi Jinping as Hitler

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Originally published by Shanghaiist on May 28, 2015

A Shanghai-based artist was detained on criminal charges yesterday after publishing an image that some speculate was meant to compare Chinese President Xi Jinping to Adolf Hitler.

The photo, which artist Dai Jianyong slapped across t-shirts and Coca-Cola cans, depicts Xi Dada sporting a new lip doily (as well as an impressive soul patch just a nudge south). While the facial hair doesn’t necessarily take the shape of the distinctive toothbrush mustache worn by the German dictator, Chinese web users noted the resemblance, according to Quartz‘ Lily Kuo, who further pointed out that some Chinese activists critical of Xi’s intolerance for dissent have been known to call him Xitele (习特勒)—a play on the Chinese transliteration of Hitler (希特勒).

Dai is also known among his 400-plus followers for making what he calls a “chrysanthemum face”, as the word for the flowering plant (juhua) is commonly used among Chinese netizens to refer to an anus. The fact that Xi is making a similarly unflattering “anus face” in the offending image certainly isn’t helping the matter.

The street photographer has been arrested for “creating a disturbance”—Party jargon typically used to jail government critics—and could face up to seven years in jail, according to advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

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