controversy continues over king monument

Another story on the ongoing protest against the selection of a Chinese artist, Lei Yixin, to sculpt the tribute to Martin Luther Kung Jr. planned for the National Mall in Washington DC: State NAACP joins protest of Chinese artist chosen for MLK monument. Construction on the monument is expected to start in April, the 40th anniversary of King's assassination. But the project is facing a great deal of criticism by black artists, American granite workers and other groups who are angry about the choice of Lei as lead artist, both because of his nationality and his history as an artist. The California NAACP recently got involved in the fray as the organization's first chapter to pass a resolution condemning the choice, calling it a decision to "outsource the production of the monument to Dr. King to the People's Republic of China, the country with the worst record of human rights violations and civil rights abuses in the world."

I can see why people feel strongly about this issue, and as I've said before, the debate brings up some very interesting, legitimate questions. Is Martin Luther King strictly an American hero? They are, after all, erecting the monument in the nation's capital, among all the other great American monuments. Or is King a hero to the world, thus making the international choice of Lei—a renown master sculptor—very fitting? I understand that there are concerns over China's appalling human rights record, and that's no joke. It's a serious cause for concern. But Lei Yixin is not China, nor is he the government of China. He's one artist who is damn good at what he does. Isn't that what this monument deserves? It seems that it will never be that simple.

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