Artist sentenced to reeducation through labor for performing sex art openly


Chinese Society  Updated:Sun, May 8, 2011 20:07 PM   By Bernd Chang


Performance art,obscene performance

On March 20, Cheng Li performed sex art openly with a woman. Shortly he and his pair were taken away by police. 

57 years old artist Cheng Li was detained and sentenced by police to one year of reeducation through labor for performing sex art in Songzhuang of Beijing. Administrative document records “Cheng Li conducted obscene performance in public. His activities attracted multiple people to look on and caused public order in chaos”. The document decides that Cheng Li was trying to cause disturbance.

May 8,2011,Beijing - Currently the lawyer of Cheng Li is applying administrative review while netizens are discussing fiercely whether his performance is art or obscene performance.

On March 20, a performance art exhibition titled “Sensitive Zone” took place in the Contemporary Art Exhibition Hall in Songzhuang Town,Tongzhou District of Beijing.Cheng Li was invited to publish his own art work.

According to the live picture circulating on internet, many people looked on with grim face, took pictures or videos when Cheng Li was performing sex art with a woman. According to his lawyer,Mr. Wang Zhenyu,Cheng Li had two purposes for his art: First,to redicule the situation that art is over commercialized;Second, to call people not to evilize,uglify the normal sex.In addition,he only invited artists in specific fields to look his performance art and was not open to public. The lawyer Mr. Wang said that shortly after the performance,Cheng Li and several of his cooperating artists were taken away by police of Songzhuang police station.Mr. Wang’s statement was confirmed by telephone to the Songzhuang police station.

Cheng Li was sentenced to one year of reeducation through labor by police

On April 24, wife of Cheng Li asked Wang Zhenyu to be their attorney.Mr. Wang said that just at that time,Cheng Li’s wife received telephone from the exhibition organizer that the other detainees were released except Cheng Li. Mr. Wang and the family members of Cheng Li came to the detention house of Tongzhou.They were told that Cheng Li was sentenced to reeducation through labour.On May 5,the family members of Cheng Li came to Tongzhou and received the formal punishment written decision issued by the Administrative Commission for Reeducation through Labour of Beijing.

According to the No. 834 Written Decision of Reeducation through Labour,the administrative commission finds out “On the afternoon of March 20,2011, Cheng Li joined with xx and conducted obscene performance on top of, in basement and other public areas of the Contemporary Art Exhibition Hall in Songzhuang Town of Beijing.His activities attracted many people to look on and cause the public order in chaos”. The document claims “The case of Cheng Li trying to cause disturbance is well testified” and “the commission decides to sentence him to one year reeducation through labour”. The time limit is from April 24,2011 to March 23,2012.

The lawyer applies for administrative review

On May 6th, Mr. Wang met with Cheng Li in his detention house. Mr.Wang said Cheng Li looks more like an intellectual than an “artist” . “I am still good in health, but I am a little bored these days”,said Cheng Li to Mr. Wang, who is applying for administrative review for Cheng Li.Mr. Wang wrote on his letter to the police:”The activities of Cheng Li belong to performance made to specific groups of people in specific area and at specific time. The performance area should not be regarded as public area. His deeds are not harmful to the society.So reeduction through labour is not suitable for Cheng Li.”

Art or obscene performance? Netizens discuss fiercely

The case of Cheng Li attacts great attention from netizens and his on-spot sex performance is widely circulated online. Does his performance belong to art or obscene performance? Viewpoints of netizens are devided.

Netizen Tianleigungun said:”Can Such an obscene action be regarded as art? I can not understand.” A great part of netizens express unable to understand the performance of Cheng Li. Some netizens think the purpose of Cheng Li is more like to seek popularity by doing something sensational. There are also some netizens who said that although different people have different views on what should be regarded as art work, but more tolerance should be given to artists, and that it should be reconsidered to sentence an artist to reeducation through labour using the crime of “causing disturbance”.

According to the lawyer Mr. Wang, many artist friends of Cheng Li indicated that Cheng Li is an serious artist and has absolutely nothing to do with “obscenity” or “causing disturbance”. Wife of Cheng Li, as woman with decent occupation,said she was sure that her husband has always been a serious artist and she totally understands and supports his husband.

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