Chinese Attempt at Censorship in Corvallis

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary Corvallis, Oregon. A university town where Oregon State University is located. With a population of 54,000 people, one would not think that this would be a place with a news worthy story. And yet, there is a very news worthy story—the fight to protect the U.S. Constitution itself from the interference of a foreign power. Recently, a Taiwanese artist painted a mural on Taiwan. The mural was painted on an old building by artist Chao Tsung-song. Chao Tsung-song was born and raised in Taiwan. The building is owned by another Taiwanese named David Lin. The mural shows the history of Taiwan, and the struggle of Taiwan independence as well as the oppression of Tibetans in China. This in of itself means little or nothing to Americans—the mural is like any artwork one can find in this country on a whole variety of themes. But it very badly upset the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, which tried to stop or have the mural removed.

The Chinese consulate sent a letter to Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning on how this mural would “damage” relations between China and the state of Oregon. Manning simply reminded them that the U.S. Constitution guaranteed the artist and the building’s owner freedom of speech. Because of this, the mayor could not and would not interfere with the mural. Upon this reply, the consulate dispatched two officials to convey the Chinese government’s displeasure and to put pressure on Manning to have the mural taken down. Mayor Manning reiterated that the U.S. Constitution allowed freedom of speech, and that this is the law of the land. The Chinese officials stated that this could “harm” relations between the two countries as the mural has been called by these officials as “propaganda.” Propaganda or not, the mural is protected freedom of speech by the constitution that allows freedoms and expressions that simply are not allowed to exist in China. This is the law of the land, and no foreign power has a right to demand censorship for what they do not like. The Chinese government claims that such a thing “interferes” in Chinese affairs. Excuse me, but the Chinese consulate and Chinese officials basically telling Americans what to do in our country is gross interference in the affairs of the United States.

I am finding it intolerable that foreign governments and insane fanatics are trying to tell, even threaten, American lives over our concept of freedom of speech—however unpopular it may be—in order to suppress that same freedom of speech. The stupid anti-Muslim film, “The Innocence of Muslims,” is a truly bad and crappy movie that does all it can to insult the prophet Muhammed. I wish this film had never been made, but it has and it is a sad commentary on tolerance in our society at times. But the vicious and uncalled for violence in many parts of the Muslim world has only shown how radicals are running amok in certain countries in a crude and disgusting demonstration of putting lives at risk to try and suppress a bad film. I should point out that anti-American and anti-Christian films are put out in parts the Muslims world, but such films hardly create a ripple in the West. When it comes down to foreign powers trying to suppress artworks, books and TV programs that provide information not allowed in certain countries like China, such people who produce these are called “anti-Chinese” and a great deal of pressure is put on those artists, TV companies and book publishers by the Chinese government to stop or limit such media. The U.S. Constitution is the final judge and jury in this land, and no one must be allowed to compromise the integrity and message of the individual whether that message is a good or bad one!

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