Watch this extraordinary moment from 2012 when Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang blew up a "pine tree" (or more accurately, a symbol of Christianity--a Christmas tree) using fireworks. The entire effort was supported by US taxpayer funds.
Taking place outside the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art, it was called “Black Christmas Tree,” which the Washington Post described as...
a sparkling display of light and smoke as the artist lights 2,000 custom-made fireworks attached to a 40-foot pine tree.
Regarding his choice of using a Christmas tree so close to the holiday, the artist told The WaPo that is simply made sense--why not?
While in DC, the Chinese artist was awarded Hillary Clinton's, first-of-it's-kind State Department Medal of Arts award.
Meanwhile, back in China, Quo-Qiang is considered to be a hero. As pointed out by author and expert on China, Michael Pillsbury, the author's work is seen as an effort to glorify the destruction of western civilization.