David Lin's sign on his downtown Corvallis business
September 14, 2012, 9:14 am
The mural on the side of David Lin's downtown business shows Tibetan monks being beaten by Chinese soldiers. The image has drawn anger from the Chinese government who sent a letter to Corvallis mayor Julie Manning suggesting it would be in the best economic interests of her city to have the mural removed. She politely declined.
Then two diplomats from the Chinese consul in San Francisco were sent to town to emphasize the point. It's enough to make David Lin say he fears for his safety. And enough to prompt two Oregon lawmakers to come down strongly on the Chinese government.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden wrote a terse letter to the Chinese Ambassador in Washington D.C. to voice his displeasure.
"I am writing to express my deep displeasure and concern with these actions. Limitations on speech and expression are incompatible with
fundamental human rights anywhere in the world, and an attempt by your
representatives to limit freedom of speech in the United States is a
As you know, the right to freedom of speech, which includes artistic
expression, has been enshrined in the Constitution of the United States
since 1791," Wyden continued. "This also includes the right to freedom
of religion, of the press, and the right of people to peacefully
assemble. While these rights might not be respected in China, they are
values that all Americans hold dear.
The mural will remain so long as Americans who painted it and host it wish it to remain."
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, whose district includes Corvallis, had a few choice words on the floor of the House Wednesday.