Ai Weiwei rages against state abuses in song, Dumbass

Ai Weiwei's single has been blocked in China

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Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has released an expletive-ridden heavy metal music video criticising abuses of state power in China.

The track, given the English-language title Dumbass, reconstructs his 81-day detention in 2011, including what he says is an exact model of his cell.

The video shows impassive prison guards accompanying Ai as he eats, sleeps, showers and even sits on the toilet.

Ai himself sings the lyrics, few of which are fit to print.

They include: "Stand on the frontline like a dumbass, in a country that puts out like a hooker... tolerance be damned, to hell with manners, the low-life's invincible."

Ai admits his voice is unpolished, but says the video is "dedicated to all those people who do not have the opportunity to raise their voice, who will never be able to raise their voices...

Start Quote

When I was detained there was a paramilitary officer who asked me to sing a song... I realised that the guards felt just like me. They just wanted to hear songs”

End Quote Ai Weiwei

"In the past 60 years there have been innumerable amounts of people who have been killed or sent away from their homes, even tortured to death.''

It is no surprise, correspondents say, that the song and video are being blocked on the Chinese internet - along with the search term "Ai Weiwei".


The video - shot by famed Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle - opens with Ai in a hood marked "criminal" which is whipped off.

His mugshot and fingerprints are taken and he begins his detention.

Images of Ai undergoing the mundane activities of daily prison life are interspersed with surreal shots, including a toilet full of crabs, and other animals. China analysts say animals have come to be used as code by activists resisting state censorship.

Guards are shown dancing with lingerie-clad women and the video culminates with Ai shaving his head and appearing in women's clothes and heavy make-up.

Ai says his experience of detention still causes him nightmares, and that writing the song was a form of therapy.

"When I was detained there was a paramilitary officer who asked me to sing a song," Ai said.

"I was extremely frustrated at the time and felt terrible. But then I realised that the guards felt just like me. They just wanted to hear songs."

Ai, who authorities say was detained for tax evasion, later tried unsuccessfully to mount a legal challenge against a 15m yuan ($2.4m; £1.5m) state bill for back taxes.

He now says he is unable to travel outside of China as authorities have taken his passport.

He plans to release a hard-rock album titled The Divine Comedy later in the year.

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