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Censors monkey with China art show before party congress


A man covers an art piece by Beijing-based artist Chi Peng with paper after government officials from the cultural bureau deemed it unfit for display before the inauguration of the SH Contemporary Art Fair at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on September 6, 2012.


Government officials from the cultural bureau inspect artworks before the inauguration of the fair.

Reuters reports — The pot-bellied official in a tan golf shirt paused in front of a poster-sized image for a few seconds, asked a member of his entourage to make a note of it, then continued to lead the group on its awkward march through the Shanghai Exhibition Center.

A few hours later, the digitally manipulated photo of China's legendary Monkey King facing Tiananmen Gate, by Beijing-based artist Chi Peng, was pulled from the wall, one of several works at the SH Contemporary Art Fair deemed unfit for display by Shanghai's culture police.

"It's especially sensitive this year because the 18th Party Congress will start soon," said a fair organizer after trying to convince another booth to remove a painting that censors didn't like because it appeared to include images of Mao Zedong. Read the full story.

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Workers cover an art piece after it was deemed unfit for display. Censorship of political content has long been a feature of the Chinese art world under Communist Party rule, but gallery owners and artists at SH Contemporary were told on Thursday that city officials were being extra careful ahead of a once-a-decade leadership transition set to take place in Beijing next month.