“If this place is not interested in us, we are not interested in this place,” artist John Kong said. “I understand people can have strong personal reactions to certain things. It’s not wrong to express what he thinks when he sees this art. “The wrong thing is that City Hall took the piece down.” It was described as “innocent, thoughtless censorship, but censorship nonetheless” by Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition. Alhambra resident Henry Zhang, 41, said Mao is China’s equivalent of Adolf Hitler and his portrait should not be displayed in public buildings. “He took away other people’s freedom,” Zhang said. ALHAMBRA – Artists featured in a Chinese New Year exhibit at City Hall removed their works in anger over the city’s banishment of a piece depicting Communist leader Mao next to George Washington. The remaining 30 prints were taken down by the artists Tuesday after city staff removed a Jeffrey Ma piece pairing Mao and Washington. It was pulled because some observers found it offensive, the city said. “They don’t respect art and they don’t respect artists,” Ma said. Ma and the three other artists in the exhibit decided to take everything down after the city balked at putting the piece back up. The artists also retrieved the Mao piece stored in the City Clerk’s Office. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!