Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose work is heavily censored in the country, made a surprise two-second appearance on national television earlier this month, presumably causing one or two red faces at the state's broadcasting department.

In a section of Mr Bo Le's Sketches Show , a comedy show on the state television channel, Ai appears momentarily as part of a vox pop asking people to describe 'youth' in one word - he went for a highly apolitical "sleepiness".

Nevertheless, the South China Morning Post , a Hong Kong-based broadsheet, reports that after initially being broadcast on 7 September the clip was subsequently edited by the Chinese Central Television (CCTV) channel's online archives to remove Ai from the recording.

The 57-year-old has previously angered the ruling Communist Party for his pro-democracy stance, was arrested in 2011 for 'economic crimes' and is widely acclaimed internationally for his politically-provocative art.

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