TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the evening of July 13 in Taipei, an unveiling ceremony was held dedicating a memorial monument to the Chinese political dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) on the one year anniversary of his death.
The monument was unveiled across the street from Taipei City Hall in a ceremony organized by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Cedric Alviani, director of the Taipei Bureau of Reporters Without Borders said at the unveiling that "One year ago the world was shocked by Liu’s death. We know that he was the victim of ill-treatment. He was killed by the Chinese regime because he was denied medical care."
Beginning after the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for four separate sentences by the Chinese government throughout his lifetime for his commitment to promoting democratic ideals and the betterment of China.
He had been a literature professor and political critic widely known and respected for his sharp critiques of accepted political doctrine and Confucianism.
In December 2009, Liu was handed a sentence of 11 years on charges of attempting to “subvert state power.” After being imprisoned for his fourth term, in 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his unceasing struggle to further human rights in China.
In May 2017, Liu was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Chinese authorities have been accused of purposefully withholding medical attention to intentionally worsen his condition. Others charge that he was directly poisoned by the Chinese government.
It was not until Liu was on his deathbed that the Chinese government granted him leave to seek medical attention on June 26 in 2017. He passed away July 13, 2017.
At the dedication of the memorial sculpture, a former student of Liu and fellow human rights activist Wu’er Kaixi said that the monument is a reminder of Liu’s dedication to the struggle for human rights and the betterment of not only China, but the entire world.
Wu'er Kaixi speaking at the unveiling ceremony (Taiwan News Image)
The monument consists of four elements, a large disc with an image of Liu and the phrase “I have no enemies,” a book with one of his written passages speaking on the struggle for justice and freedom, a large rose laid over the book, and a copy of his desk chair from which he composed many of his works.
CNA reports that the artist who designed the memorial Aihua Cheng (鄭愛華) said it “sends a message that Liu's legacy will be passed on” despite China’s efforts to suppress his message and destroy his works.
Speaking of Liu’s struggle to promote democracy, as well as freedom of thought and press, without state censorship and coercion, Wu’er Kaixi said that Taiwanese society in many ways resembles the kind of society that Liu Xiaobo dreamed of.
Commenting on the recent release of Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, who was able to leave China for Europe, Wu’er said that her successful trip out of China is evidence that pressure from the international community can be effective in influencing the Chinese regime.
Speakers at the unveiling ceremony agreed that Taiwan is a perfectly appropriate location for Liu’s monument, as Taiwan more than any other country in the world, is a society threatened by the same coercive, authoritarian, and anti-democratic force that sought to ruin Liu Xiaobo’s life and stifle his message of freedom.
As such, the monument represents a call to not only remember Liu’s legacy, but it is also a call to continue the struggle for human rights and justice across the globe, and to resist the forces that would suppress freedom and deny the rights of the individual. Taiwan stands on the front line of that conflict.
(Taiwan News Image)