Pro-Tibet and Taiwan mural in Oregon upsets Chinese officials

Downtown Corvallis, Oregon

In the college town of Corvallis, Oregon, a mural above a storefront, commissioned by Taiwanese-American businessman David Lin, has angered China. The mural depicts Chinese authorities beating demonstrators, illustrates the self-immolation of a Tibetan monk, and includes calls for Tibetan and Taiwanese independence.

A letter from China’s consulate in San Francisco, sent to Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning last month, states that “to avoid our precious friendship from being tainted by so-called ‘Tibet Independence’ and ‘Taiwan Independence,’ we sincerely hope you can understand our concerns and adopt effective measures to stop the activities advocating ‘Tibet Independence’ and ‘Taiwan Independence’ in Corvallis.”

The town has relayed China’s concern to Lin, who has no intention of taking the mural down. As for any “effective measures” China might have hoped for, Manning has said, “We reiterated that the building is privately owned and that this is private expression protected by the US Constitution.” You can see a photo of a detail from the mural here.

(Photo by Sally via Flickr, using a CC-BY license.)