Art@Site Weiming Chen Tiananmen Massacre

Weiming Chen


Tiananmen Massacre

Chinese University of Hong Kong
On 29 May 2010, Hong Kong police seized a statue and a six-metre-long relief – named 天安門大屠殺 (Tiananmen Massacre) – the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (the Alliance) erected in Times Square ahead of the 21st anniversary of 6 June Tiananmen Square protest; organisers were arrested for lacking a license to organise"public entertainment". A second statue was erected following the anniversary march to commemorate 4 June pro-democracy movement, but was also seized by police citing the same Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance. Thirteen people who had been standing guard over the statue were arrested by police. Both statues were replicas of the 1989 Tiananmen Square statue – one statue was 6.4-metre bronze and the other a 2.2 m rendering in white plastic. Chen Weiming made the relief measuring 6.4 m wide by 3.2 m high entitled Tiananmen Massacre and completed it in June 2009. This work is positioned before the statue of Goddess of Democracy in Hong Kong in 2010.
The Visual Artists Guild joins with those organizations and individuals who are outraged that Hong Kong police confiscated sculptor, a New Zealand citizen, Chen Weiming's 21 ft by 10 ft relief depicting the Tiananmen Massacre and the 10 ft statue of the new interpretation of the Goddess of Democracy just days before the city's Annual Tiananmen Remembrance Vigil. The Visual Artists Guild stands beside artists who use their works to express freedom and social justice. We stand beside artists, individuals and organizations to denounce Hong Kong's deportation of Chen Weiming, the creator of sculptures. We demand that the 13 activists who were arrested during the confiscation of the art works and later released on bail to have the bogus charges against them be dismissed by Hong Kong officials and their bail money returned to them. Although we are relieved that the art works have been returned to Hong Kong activists from Hong Kong's police and will be on display during June 4th's candlelight vigil in Victoria Park, we share the distress of many who view Hong Kong's recent actions as participating in political censorship of an event for which Beijing refuses to apologize.

The original Goddess of Democracy statue has become an icon of liberty and a symbol of the free speech and democracy movements. The Chinese government has tried to distance itself from any discussions about the original statue or about the Tiananmen Square protests, and in the case of the Victims of Communism Memorial it called the building of a replica an"attempt to defame China." Several replicas of the statue have been erected worldwide to commemorate the events of 1989. As no discussion about or mention of the 1989 protests is tolerated in mainland China, and because China has publicly embraced the one country, two systems model of governance for Hong Kong, the annual 4 June observance – a tradition since 1989 – has continued after the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China. Also, this 6.4-metre statue sculpted by US-resident Chen Weiming is the only 'Goddess of Democracy' to find a home on Chinese soil. The statue was sculpted of an imitated copper material, has been exhibited in the front of the United States Congress in the American capital after its completion in 2008. Another work of the sculptor, a relief measuring 6.4 m wide by 3.2 m high entitled Tiananmen Massacre completed in June 2009, joined the statue in Hong Kong in 2010.