Electronic Dissidence: Ai Weiwei and Maoist Legacies in the Reform Era
St. John, Hope
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Over the past decade, Ai Weiwei has emerged as a prominent artist activist in China. He is recognized across the globe for his dissident perspectives and large-scale art projects. Noted for his pro-democratic political perspectives, Ai has come to represent a potent, antithetical challenger to the Chinese Communist Party. However, while remaining a highly critical of state policy, Ai’s actions recall Maoist political strategies. As such, this paper endeavors to better understand Ai’s emergence as a public figure and political activist in the reform era through the legacies of high socialism and the relevance of such legacies within contemporary China.