"They are not idealistic persons who issue revolutionary manifestos. Instead, they are more likely to take on political roles as part of their personal style and expression," writes Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures professor Guobin Yang in The New York Times' "Room for Debate" forum.  His comments are in response question, "What does the detention of one of China's most celebrated artists, Ai Weiwei, say about art as a form of social critique?"

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Professor Guobin Yang is the author of The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online and has spent the past decade studying how Chinese citizens have harnessed social networking and the Internet as tools for civic activism.