Chinese Artist's New Cartoons Target Elite Politicians With Deadly Seriousness

02/02/2016 02:09 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
Badiucao / China Digital Times

china digital times

Born in Shanghai and currently based in Australia, Badiucao is one of China's most prolific and well-known political cartoonists. A new e-book published by China Digital Times collects over 50 of his drawings over the past two years. The artist confronts a variety of social and political issues head-on in his powerful work, while infusing his drawings with a wry sense of humor.

He readily adapts sardonic Internet memes -- such as the nickname for President Xi Jinping, "Steamed Bun Xi" -- while manipulating archetypal images from Communist Party propaganda to make subversive political statements. In recent years, he has broadened his range and drawn a series of stark and powerful portraits of human rights defenders in China.

"As a rebel, I want to use my pen to record history from my perspective and use my individual perspective to confront the official record," Badiucao told China Digital Times.

The drawings in the book cover the early years of Xi's presidency, from December 2013 to January 2016. The book also includes a lengthy interview with the artist and explanatory text for each image. Badiucao's work has been used by Amnesty International, Freedom House, BBC and CNN and exhibited in Australia, the U.S. and Italy. He has been a contributing cartoonist for China Digital Times since December 2013.

The e-book is available on the CDT website, in both ePub and PDF formats, and you can pay what you want. All donations received will be contributed to Badiucao.

Below are a few handpicked cartoons from the new book:

china house of cards

"China's House of Cards." Badiucao reimagines the popular Netflix series about political corruption and intrigue with a Chinese cast of current and former leaders.


"Parade." The Chinese name for the powerful Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has been sardonically reworked by netizens as "Crotch Central Committee." In Badiucao's view, the 2015 World War II victory day parade in Beijing was an opportunity for the Central Committee to show off.

daily patrol

"Daily Patrol." In a tribute to both Banksy's "Girl with the Red Balloon" and the Tank Man from Tiananmen Square in 1989, Badiucao portrays a young Uighur girl confronting security patrols in Xinjiang.

the pen is mightier than the gun

"The Pen Is Mightier than the Gun." Following the arrest of veteran journalist Gao Yu, Badiucao depicts a pen's quill being placed in the barrel of a gun to show the power of free speech.