Oregon Mural Draws Fire from China

Chinese authorities have pressed officials in Corvallis, Oregon to order the removal of a mural which advocates independence for Taiwan and Tibet. Property owner David Lin remains defiant, however, while city officials have pointed out that they cannot legally force him to have the painting taken down. From Bennett Hall at Corvallis Gazette-Times:

Citing “strong resentment from the local Chinese community,” the Chinese government has asked the city of Corvallis to force a Taiwanese-American businessman to remove a mural advocating independence for Taiwan and Tibet from his downtown building.

But city leaders say the mural violates no laws and its political message is protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Taiwanese artist Chao Tsung-song painted the 10-foot-by-100-foot mural last month on the side of the old Corvallis MicroTechnology building at Southwest Fourth Street and Jefferson Avenue. The work was commissioned by property owner David Lin, who is renovating the space for a restaurant and has rechristened the building Tibet House.

In vivid colors, the painting depicts riot police beating Tibetan demonstrators, Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule and images of Taiwan as a bulwark of freedom.

In June, Chinese embassy officials in the UK boycotted a film festival because two controversial films remained on the programme, and threatened to withdraw Chinese athletes from a pre-Olympics training camp because of a scheduled appearance by the Dalai Lama at a private business conference nearby.