A month ahead of its opening in Beijing, an exhibition by Chinese-American artist Hung Liu was canceled after local authorities objected to some of the works and refused to issue import permits for others.
According to Liu, Beijing cultural authorities have voiced concerns about nine of her works, including the painting Twelve Hairpins of Jinling (2011), which shows 12 schoolgirls in uniforms wearing gas masks, and a 1993 self-portrait based on a
photo of her a young, rifle-toting fighter at the end of China's Cultural Revolution. Another painting that was objected to by authorities is Abacus (1988), which loosely translates to Seven-Up Eight-Down, a phrase in Chinese that describes
Liu reluctantly agreed to withdraw the nine works from the exhibition, focusing on more recent works and works that had been exhibited in China before. But that did was not enough to ease the concerns of the authorities in Beijing.
The cancellation comes amidst growing trade tensions between the United States and China and signifies increased censorship of political art in China.