In this photo taken Sept. 20, 2014, Chinese artist Li Dapeng talks to reporters in front of one of his works depicting a typical Chinese scene featuring figures with grotesque pig heads at his studio in the Songzhuang art district in eastern Beijing, China. Artists in Songzhuang have long enjoyed rare creative freedoms by keeping their art and conversation mostly away from the public, but police arrested 13 people who work or live in the district in October after they posted online pictures and commentary support pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.(AP Photo/Jack Chang)

BEIJING (AP) — Just a few weeks ago, oil painters in eastern Beijing’s Songzhuang art district had welcomed foreign reporters into their studios and shown off works tackling such touchy subjects as China’s prisons and Communist Party politics. Over lunch, they candidly lamented the state of free speech in China while chewing on chicken and downing glasses of beer.

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