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Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sparked a new social media meme last week when he posted an Instagram photo of himself holding his leg as though it were a gun — a move he later explained was a statement on the use of force to fight terrorism. "People from all over the world have been experiencing panic because of terrorist attacks such as 9/11 and problems such as the existence of weapons," Ai told The Associated Press Monday. "Power is being overused in the name of counterterrorism," he added.

Instagram users followed suit, posting photos of their own "guns," often using the hashtag #gunleg. Ai, who is notorious for using art to criticize the Chinese government, promoted dozens of these images on his personal account.

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—Becky Bratu, with The Associated Press