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Monument in memory of Nobel laureate unveiled in Taipei

2018/07/13 21:25:30

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) A monument dedicated to the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) was unveiled Friday in Taipei to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of one of China's most renowned political dissidents.

"He (Liu Xiaobo) has taught us that one should not just believe in freedom and democracy, but should fight for it and commit his or her life to it. And he did," said Wu'er Kaixi, a student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement, before the unveiling ceremony.

Liu died a year ago Friday, more than seven years into an 11-year sentence handed down in 2009 for his pursuit of democracy in China.

The monument is composed of three objects -- a visage of Liu, an open book bronze sculpture featuring his writings with a rose-shaped sculpture on it, and an empty chair.

It has been temporarily erected in Civil Plaza in front of Taipei City Hall for a ceremony in his memory.

The visage of Liu is accompanied with the declaration "I have no enemies" that Liu made during his trial for his role in drafting "Charter 08," for which he was convicted of "inciting subversion of state power."

Aihua Cheng (鄭愛華), who was commissioned to design the monument, said the piece was built to send a message that Liu's legacy will be passed on even though an authoritarian regime like China resorts to book-burning and the imprisonment of dissidents to repress freedom of thought.

Wu'er Kaixi, who initiated the project, said he has filed an application with the city government to have the monument erected in the plaza permanently, a process he said will take months to complete.

Liu's death is a clear reminder of the severe persecution of those fighting for freedom and democracy in China, said Wu'er Kaixi.

Wu'er Kaixi said that the monument is also a reminder of Liu's unfinished work.

"Taiwan is under threat from China the most. It reminds people in Taiwan that we should join hands to safeguard our values."

Cedric Alviani, director of the Taipei Bureau of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an organization that co-initiated the project, said that the RSF is proud to take part.

"One year ago, the world was shocked by his death. We all know that he was the victim of ill-treatment. He was killed by the Chinese regime, by the lack of medical care," Alviani said at the ceremony.

He stressed the importance for Taiwanese society and the world to remember Liu, who was also awarded the RSF's press freedom laureate six years before he won the Nobel Prize in 2010.

"Taiwanese society also had its dark time," Alviani said, but "what Taiwanese society has become now is more or less what Liu was dreaming for China and dreaming for the world."

Commenting on the situation of Liu Xia (劉霞), Liu Xiaobo's widow, who recently arrived in Germany after eight years of house arrest in China, Wu'er Kaixi said that her release is a lesson to the world that "pressure (exerted by the international community against China) works."

Wu'er Kaixi expressed hope that the international community will join the fight of the Chinese pro-democracy activists. "If you can't give us support, at least do not appease China. That would be standing on the wrong course of the history," he said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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