The colors often associated with the American capital city of Washington, D.C. may be the patriotic red, white and blue, but a recent string of vandalism acts on various landmarks has painted the city green. Over a two week period, a string of vandalism in the form of splashed green paint caused the brief closure of D.C.’s historic Lincoln Memorial, and was also discovered on the pipe organ in the National Cathedral and on the Joseph Henry statue located across the Smithsonian Castle.
According to WTOP, a DC-based CBS affiliate, a Chinese woman identified as 58-year-old Jiamei Tian has been charged with destroying private property after being arrested on Monday at the cathedral’s Children’s Chapel where she was caught carrying a soda container containing green paint. Court documents also reported that she was seen with green paint on her clothes and shoes by a police officer who approached her.
While it is unclear whether Tian is responsible for the prior paint vandalism on the Lincoln Memorial and Joseph Henry statue, court documents suggest that she is also suspected of vandalizing a statue of Martin Luther in downtown Washington which was also hit with paint.
Cleanup and restoration teams at the cathedral are expecting the damages to cost roughly $15,000, the cathedral's spokesman Richard Weinberg said to the AP.
The report said that Tian, who is a Chinese passport holder, arrived in Washington a few days prior to her arrest and was traveling on an expired visa. Police investigators said that she had told them that she resided in Los Angeles.
This isn’t the first time D.C. has seen Chinese vandalism. Earlier in July, the Chinese Embassy in D.C. was tagged by a clever graffiti artist. The character “chai,” which means demolish, was spray painted on to two pillars of the embassy’s front gate and on the entrance of the office building. In China, the character had become synonymous with the country’s urbanization and development as “chai” was spotted all over cities, marking the destruction of most old-style courtyard homes and other old structures. Though Tian’s reasons for splashing paint across D.C. monuments has yet to be revealed, the “chai” vandal seemed to have a more obvious point. The South China Morning Post says that the graffiti was a symbol of protest over China’s controversial land seizures for land development, which have led many residents across the country without homes or with inadequate compensation.