WFXG FOX 54 - News NowChinese government asks Corvallis to take down mural

Chinese government asks Corvallis to take down mural

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A mural in the Oregon town of Corvallis is drawing international attention and controversy, even prompting the Chinese Consulate General to step in and ask the city's mayor to remove it.

When David Lin commissioned an artist to paint the mural outside his business, the Taiwanese immigrant said it was to tell a story: the struggle for Taiwan and Tibet to gain their independence from China.

"True peace, is mutual respect and you have to harmonically live together. You cannot use force," Lin said.

The images show a man being beaten, two men set on fire and a city in turmoil. This, Lin said, is the essence of art because it tells the truth.

A friend had given him photographs of the brutality and when Lin saw it, he felt compelled to do something.

"Tremendous shock to me. More than a million people were killed already and I want to speak out for them if I can," he said.

Earlier this month, two Chinese consular officials flew in to ask both Lin and Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning to remove it. In a letter, the Chinese General Consulate said it has caused, "strong resentment from (the) local Chinese community."

Manning said the art is protected speech under the First Amendment and that she has no right to order its removal.

"(I) really didn't believe that Mr. Lin was violating any local ordinances or laws," Manning said.

Out of fear, Lin didn't tell us exactly what the consulate said, just that, "I can say I carry a gun all the time now."

Despite threats, Lin refuses to take the mural down. He said he's fueled by doing the right thing and community support.

On Monday, he came to work to find two silk scarves, one white, one orange, tied to the door handle.

They're a symbol of highest honor in Tibetan culture.

"I pray I have the strength to stand up and that's what I want," Lin said.

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