The most internationally famous of Australia’s 1.2 million people of Chinese ethnicity “came out” this week. He is the best-known Chinese cartoonist in the world, and each of his major works has been downloaded millions of times. Until this week he invariably wore a mask during his rare public appearances and agreed only to be interviewed via Skype to protect family members back in China. He is known only by his pen-name, Badiucao.

The Shanghai-born artist is a powerful critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, and has drawn many unflattering cartoons of its general secretary Xi Jinping, usually in his trademark German expressionist style. Cartoon images of Chinese leaders are banned in the People’s Republic, so Badiucao’s caricatures — regularly featuring Xi as “silly old bear” Winnie the Pooh — pack an unusually powerful punch for mainlanders with access to his platforms.

Badiucao, who remains reluctant to use his real name, revealed his face towards the end of China’s Artful Dissident, a new film by Australian documentary-maker Danny Ben-Moshe, broadcast by ABC TV on Tuesday night.

Please click here to read the full “It’s not hard to become a political cartoonist from China, because there are only five or six of us” article published at Inside Story, written by Griffith Asia Institute Industry Fellow, Rowan Callick.