Three cheers for Corvallis, Oregon Mayor Julie Manning.
Ms. Manning faced a visit from two Chinese consular officials who flew to Oregon to . . . wait for it . . . protest a mural on a private business. See, the mural concerns the struggle of Tibet and Taiwan for independence, and depicts brutality.
The images show a man being beaten, two men set on fire and a city in turmoil.
The consular officials aren't fans:
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."
I suspect the local Chinese community is full of decent people, most of whom (a) don't care, or (b) are more outraged by totalitarian brutality than by art depicting it.
Julie Manning could have threatened, or bullied, or even just lobbied the private property owner to take down the mural. She didn't. She's the right kind of leader.
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.
We're very lucky to live in a country where artists don't get jailed for criticizing the government.** We shouldn't squander that.
[**I mean, unless the government asserts unilaterally that an artistic person has ties to terrorism, in which case they may be detained indefinitely based on secret evidence and undisclosed criteria without judicial review and under whatever conditions the government sees fit, or if given judicial review, stubbornly confined even if such judicial review suggests that the government's suspicions are unfounded, all of which will either be ignored or applauded by a vast majority of Americans, including Americans who under other circumstances profess angry opposition to excessive government power. OTHER than that.]
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