CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Rep. Peter DeFazio called out Chinese diplomats for urging the mayor of Corvallis to force a local business owner to take down a mural advocating independence for Tibet and Taiwan.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports that the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco complained about the mural in a letter to Mayor Julie Manning last month, then sent two high-ranking officials to Corvallis to press their case in person. Manning told the Chinese diplomats that freedom of expression is protected under American law.
DeFazio said on Wednesday he's appalled Chinese diplomats have failed to read the U.S. Constitution.
Painted by Taiwanese artist Chao Tsung-song, the mural depicts violent repression of Tibetan protesters by Chinese riot police and defiant images of Taiwan. China considers both regions part of its territory.
The owner of the building, David Lin, told KGW the mural forces people to at least address the issue.
"There's nothing more important than fact and truth. Nothing more," Lin said. "If Chinese people want to have a better life for themselves, for the future, they've got to face this issue."
The Chinese Student Association at Oregon State University was not available for comment Thursday.
KGW Reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report.