A Beijing artist who posted photographs of himself with his late father’s decades-old remains on the weekend has been booted from China’s social media platform Weibo after attracting widespread public condemnation. The artist, known as Siyuan Zhuji, published the controversial photos on art website Artand, as well as Weibo, on Saturday, the day after China’s Ching Ming, or grave-sweeping, festival when families honour their departed ancestors. The pictures were taken at the end of March when the remains were being reinterred after damage occurred to their original resting place in Chuzhou, Anhui province, where they were buried 30 years ago. “I treated this as a real artwork, I did this for art,” the artist told the South China Morning Post in a phone interview. “Real art should not be afraid of facing the public or being out in the world.” Siyuan, 33, said the pictures were taken by his wife, with help from the caretaker at the cemetery, who arranged the remains in a discreet location. In one of the photos the remains are arranged into a skeleton, with a naked Siyuan beside them. “No morals! If you want to take photos with your father, use his old photos and digitally edit to combine with your own!” an internet user from Nanning wrote. “Why would you expose your father’s remains like that? An evil son. Maybe you wanted to fulfil your own selfish desires or you want to go viral?” Siyuan did not deny there was an element of self-promotion at play. However, he said he was caught off guard by the widespread attention, as he had only intended to share the work within the arts circle. He had not told his mother about the photographs. She was later informed by his wife, but did not have a problem with his actions, Siyuan said. “She said if the caretaker didn’t have a problem with it, then she didn’t as well,” he said. “She is supportive of my work.” In the original post accompanying the photos, Siyuan explained his father had died of liver cancer when he was three years old and he did not have many memories with him. “I was also a little selfish, I wanted to realise a dream of mine – to take a photo with my father’s bones,” Siyuan said in the post. Siyuan’s Weibo account was suspended, but not before his post attracted severe criticism from internet users. Ancestral worship remains a strong tradition in China, with families paying respects and cleaning the graves of their ancestors during the annual Ching Ming festival. There are many superstitions and rules surrounding the treatment of remains and tombs of family members. “Young man, disturbing the dead, you will never have a moment of peace for the rest of your life,” an internet user from Shenzhen wrote.