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Olympic graffiti become art that Chinese want to keep in cities

By Cruz Fang (
Updated: 2007-07-16 15:27

Graffiti, an annoying problem in some western cities, is now sprawling in Chinese cities with some being treated as a branch of art and others with Olympic themes quietly tolerated by the government.

A giant graffiti on the theme of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was done overnight in June in the northeast city of Changchun. While some of the citizens called to preserve it, city officials declared it unlawful.

The 24-year-old graffiti artist who spent two nights creating the work with friends was surprised at how much support he received from residents who want to keep it as a piece of art.

"To be frank, I was feeling like a thief when I was doing it," said Li Xiang, who claimed his intention was to create some graffiti in the city and do something for the Beijing Games.

Citizens thought the painting shows nice painting skills, but they didn't appreciate Li and his friends getting so much attention from their work..

The art of the graffiti went further one month later in the capital city of Jilin Province, as a controversial graffiti competition, organized by a local newspaper, barely got the government's approval.

Meanwhile, in the southwest municipality of Chongqing, the local government even designated a street for graffiti painters to show off their artistic skills. Local media reported the government is applying to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest street covered in graffiti.