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Du Fu is Busy is a photoshop meme based on a drawing of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Du Fu (杜甫). The images are typically edited by putting the poet in odd situations and giving him new clothes, accessories and hairstlyes.
On March 22nd, altered images of a middle school textbook illustration (shown left) of Du Fu’s poem “Deng Gao” (“Mounting High”) were posted on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo. The images were made in celebration of the poet’s 1,300th birthday, portraying him as a variety of different characters including a sniper, delivery man and Internet surfer (shown right). According to an article in the Chinese Internet culture blog China Whisperer, the series was named “Du Fu is Busy.”
Du Fu lived from 712-770 during the Tang Dysnasty and is highly regarded as one of the greatest Chinese poets of all time. He is often compared to other renown literary figures such as Shakespeare, Virgil and Ovid.
On March 26th, 2012, the Chinese news blog Ministry of Tofu published an article titled “‘Du Fu is very busy’ – Netizens have fun with photoshopping portrait of ancient Chinese poet”, which reported the head of The Poets’ Association of Henan Province was unhappy with the meme and quoted as saying, "The spirits of Du Fu are the glory of our nation. We will never tolerate any denigration of Du Fu’s image.” On March 28th, a series of edited images were posted on the Chinese news site Beijing Shots, which told the story of Du Fu visiting his wife in the Tang Dysnasty capital Chang’an.
The following day, the trend was reported in an English-speaking segment on China 24 News, which noted that the meme had become somewhat controversial online.
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