CORVALLIS – A mural in Corvallis is raising the ire of the Chinese government and the Consulate General's office in San Francisco has asked that it be taken down.
The mural, which stretches across the top of David Lin’s building, shows Tibetan monks being beaten and arrested by Chinese soldiers and police in the struggles for independence in Tibet and Taiwan.
The Chinese say its offensive, but Lin says it’s a truth the world should see and he’s not budging. Now Oregon lawmakers are coming to his defense.
“Nothing is more important than fact and truth --nothing more. If the Chinese people want to have a better life for themselves, for the future, they got to face this issue,” Lin said.
But not everyone agrees with Lin’s message. The Consulate General of China sent a letter to the mayor of Corvallis saying the mural offends Chinese students attending Oregon State University.
“He’s not violating any laws. And one of the things we discussed when we met with the representatives from the consulate is that the mural does represent free speech as guaranteed by our first amendment,” said Corvallis mayor Julie Manning.
The Chinese response infuriated Oregon Representative Peter Defazio.
“This represents the basis of our representative democracy, our freedom of speech and our rights, and it will not be bullied by China or any other overseas interest,” Defazio told Congress.
The controversy caught Sen. Ron Wyden’s attention too.
“I believe the Chinese government ought to back off,” he said.
Back in Corvallis a growing number of people are stopping by to see the mural for themselves. Lake Oswego’s Nancy Wernecke is pleased at the very American response to China.
“And I’m glad the response has been no, of course not,” she said.
Lin said members of the local Tibetan community are planning to gather at his mural on Saturday to offer their support.
KGW reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report