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Chinese Activist Artist Ai Weiwei Maps The Milk Of China's Discontent


Internationally renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei thinks there IS a point to crying over spilled milk. His latest work, titled “Baby Formula 2013”, maps out China's discontent over multiple milk powder scandals using 1,800 cans of powdered milk.

Currently on display at a Hong Kong civic center, the artist's 80-square-meter (861.15 sq ft) map of China features seven different brands of milk powder arranged to form China's various provinces... including Taiwan. The inclusion of the latter may soften the ire of China's government somewhat but as with most of Ai Weiwei's artistic creations, instilling ire in the authorities is part of the point.

In this particular case, the focus is on China's seemingly endless succession of tainted milk powder scandals that drove both mothers and profiteers to import as much milk powder as possible from Hong Kong and other “foreign” sources.

Panic-buying and hoarding of milk powder by mainland Chinese eventually led Hong Kong authorities to impose a two-tin limit on infant formula powder exports as the former British colony's supermarkets struggled to keep milk powder on their shelves.

The fiasco as a whole is an embarrassment to mainland China's dairy industry... and the well-connected businessmen who run it. As for Ai Weiwei, he'd be wise not to attempt bringing “Baby Formula 2013” to any mainland China art exhibitions.

Besides risking the wrath of China's censors and dairy industry bigwigs, he could be fined up to $64,000 and be handed a two-year prison sentence by Hong Kong's customs police for exceeding the two-tin powdered milk export limit. (via WSJ, South China Morning Post, and LPS Beijing)