In a video posted on YouTube, Ai sports a neon-pink T-shirt, black jacket and dark sunglasses and energetically mimics rodeo-style dance moves made famous by South Korean rapper PSY, whose original video became an Internet sensation.
Ai said he and several friends made the video Wednesday and uploaded it overnight. In one scene, he swings two pairs of handcuffs while dancing. The video also was posted on Chinese websites, but censors apparently had scrubbed it off many of them by Thursday morning.
Ai told The Associated Press on Thursday that he decided to make the video after learning that the family of his friend Zuoxiao Zuzhou, a famous rock star in China, was losing their home to a demolition crew. The artist said he thought a little humour could alleviate some of the frustration felt by the Chinese public.
"Our happiness is constantly being taken away from us, our homes demolished, we are always controlled, passports can be taken away from us, and all these can affect our happiness," Ai said.
"However, every morning we have the opportunity to give others something to laugh about. Laughter is important."
The video is titled Grass Mud Horse Style, in Chinese, a sly insult Ai coined as a stab at the country's Internet censors. The Chinese characters are homonyms for a vulgar slur.