China Urges US City to Remove Mural on Taiwan, Tibet

Posted September 11th, 2012 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

China's government has asked a city in the western U.S. state of Oregon to order a Taiwanese-American businessman to remove a mural promoting independence for Taiwan and Tibet.

The mural, in the city of Corvallis, portrays Taiwan as a beacon of freedom and depicts Chinese police beating Tibetan demonstrators and Tibetan monks setting themselves on fire in protest of Chinese rule. Businessman David Lin, who came to the U.S. from Taiwan in the 1970s, had the 3-meter-by-30 meter mural painted last month on the downtown building he owns.

In a letter last month, the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco asked Corvallis city leaders to “adopt effective measures to stop the activities advocating 'Tibet Independence' and 'Taiwan Independence' in Corvallis.”

But the city's mayor rejected the request, saying “artistic expression” is protected under the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free speech.

Answering a reporter's question about the exchange Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei defended the consulate's involvement.

“The Chinese diplomats have the responsibility of expounding on China's position to the outside world and to other peoples in the world.”

He said China's position on Taiwan and Tibet issues has been “consistent and clear.”


“China's position on Taiwan and Tibet related issues has been consistent and clear. We oppose anybody's activity regarding Taiwan and Tibet independence in any form. We also hope the international community will not provide a platform for such activities.”

Communist China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has claimed sovereignty over the self-ruled island since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s.

The August 8 letter from the Chinese consulate said, “There is only one China in the world, and both Tibet and Taiwan are parts of China.” The letter called that “a fact recognized by the U.S. and most other countries in the world.”

Tensions over Tibet and concerns about the Tibetan human rights situation have soared recently after a wave of protests against Chinese rule and self-immolations by Tibetan activists. More than 50 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, as they grow increasingly frustrated about what they see as the Chinese government's limitations on their religion and culture – a charge Beijing denies.