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Goings-on in China: Spoof Craze over a Tang Poet


A later artist's impression of Du Fu, and it is spoofed by Chinese students and Internet users.

A medley of doodles about Du Fu, one of the most prestigious poets from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), has been, unfortunately, circulated on China’s Weibo and retailed to the public in various forms.

The poet (712-770) was remarkable for his impeccable personality, and most of all, his dedication to his country and people. His ultimate ambition was to serve the country as a civil servant, but he proved unable to reach necessary accommodations with the dark side of the society, which he couldn’t prevent or mollify.

With about 1,500 poems accredited to him, many of which feature morality and history, Du now is widely accepted as one of the greatest poets in China, along with Li Bai, one of his contemporaries. He is called "poet sage", a counterpart to the philosophical sage, Confucius.

The year 2012 marks his 1,300th anniversary. But for no apparent reason, an illustration of the poet in a Chinese textbook, in which Du looks forlorn and careworn, has become a source of public entertainment. The students, followed by Internet users, are joining in force on the project, depicting another Du Fu that blends in with modern elements and features impersonations of various models, such as a gunner, a motorcyclist and a water bearer, as well as some popular cartoon characters.

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