Ai Weiwei's supporters strip off to show backing

Ai Weiwei, in Beijing on 17 November 2011 Mr Ai, who was detained earlier this year, has spoken out against the Chinese government

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Supporters of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei have begun a new campaign to back him by posting nude pictures of themselves on the internet.

It comes after Ai Weiwei said Chinese police were investigating him on pornography charges in connection with his art.

His supporters believe China's authorities are trying to silence Mr Ai.

The artist has been a vocal critic of the Communist Party.

Assistant questioned

Young and old, fat and thin, the photos of Ai Weiwei's supporters are being gathered on a website entitled: "Listen Chinese government: Nudity is not pornography".

Some people have their private parts modestly covered, others not. Some are on the beach, others superimposed onto sites like Tiananmen Square.

One poses in homage to Rodin's statue The Thinker.

Last week Mr Ai said police had questioned his assistant about a portrait he had taken and published of Mr Ai, seated, undressed, surrounded by four naked women, suggesting it might constitute pornography.

Earlier this year there was an international outcry when Mr Ai was held in secret detention for 80 days.

The authorities said he had tried to evade taxes and demanded $2.5m (£1.6m).

Then his supporters campaigned online, raising over a million dollars.

Now they fear there is another attempt to silence him so they are rallying again, but with no clothes on.

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