British Columbia

Vancouver Chinatown mural defaced an insult, says historian

The Lau Tzu mural in Chinatown has been vandalized, the second mural to be vandalized this month. Chinatown historian says it reminds the community of the discrimination Chinese residents faced historically in the city.

"Seeing this mural being defaced is like an insult to our history," says Larry Wong

This mural in Chinatown cost $18,000 when it was created in 2010 and is considered an icon in the neighbourhood. (CBC News)

The defacing of an iconic mural in Chinatown reminds some Chinese residents of the discrimination they faced historically when they first moved to Vancouver.

"It is like an insult to our history and it is very offensive,"said Larry Wong, resident and Chinatown historian.

The mural at the corner of Gore and Pender streets features Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism.

"Whoever defaced this beautiful mural is really sort of sticking his tongue out and saying ...'Oh ... so much for your Chinese philosophy and Chinese history.'"

It is the second time a mural in the area has been vandalized in less than a month. Wong says there is no reason for defacing the mural and describes it as a gutless action.

"It is a darn shame that someone has to deface this beautiful mural, because the idea was to attract more tourists to Chinatown," he said. 

The $18,000 mural considered to been icon in Vancouver's Chinatown, was first put up in 2010 as a joint project between the City of Vancouver and Lee's Association of Vancouver.

The city will try to get rid of the graffiti, but if it can't, it is unlikely that the mural will be restored.

"There's no sense to repaint it, there's nothing we can do about it," said Maurice Lee, president of Lee's Association of Vancouver.

Lee says a new building is being built in the vacant lot next to the mural next year, which will hide most of the mural and it would be too expensive to restore it for a short time.

Vancouver police are investigating but have yet to make any arrests in connection with the vandalism.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Chinatown mural defaced is insulting, says historian with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.


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