NAACP Blasts MLK Sculptor

Says Chinese artist hails from, glorifies abusive country
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2007 11:29 AM CST
Sculptor Lei Yixin of China looks at a scale model of the "Stone of Hope," a piece he has created which will be the centerpiece of the new memorial for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. The selection...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – California’s NAACP chapter has condemned the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial planned for the National Mall, saying the choice of a Chinese artist “is in direct opposition to Dr. King’s philosophy.” Lei Yixin not only hails from the country “with the worst record of human rights violations,” the group says, but moreover is known for state-commissioned sculptures “glorifying Mao.”

Others are furious an African American was not chosen as lead artist, but the project’s president counters that no black sculptors do "this type of work in granite." Then there’s anger that Chinese rather than American stone will be used. The San Francisco Chronicle notes that the episode mirrors backlash over the choice of Chinese-American Maya Lin to design the Vietnam memorial.