Many organizations around the world are organizing events to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre. Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary of Canada are erecting a Liu Xiaobo memorial in each city as the focus of the commemoration.
Toronto Association for Democracy in China, together with PEN Canada and Amnesty International Canada, started the project in May 2018 to erect a Liu Xiaobo bronze sculpture. After a year of hard work and the generous donation from the public, the sculpture in the form of a large-than-life Empty Chair is almost complete. Even though there are some minor steps before its final completion, TADC is bring the Empty Chair for a preview during the June 4 Rally on Saturday June 1. The sculpture will then be installed to the final location for official unveiling on July 13. TADC many years ago has erected a Tiananmen memorial sculpture at University of Toronto and a replica of the Goddess of Democracy at York University. In both cases, TADC has spent significant effort to secure the display locations. After their unveiling, both displays were sabotaged multiple times. As such, all three organizations were very cautious in selecting the sculptor and the location for the Liu Xiaobo memorial. We have gone through unsung pressure and hardship to be at this stage. Mr Martin Lee, Mr Cheuk-Yan Lee and Ms Yin-Ting Mak, while on their way to Ottawa and Washington to explain the Hong Kong Government’s amendment of extradition law, stopped by Toronto in early May. The group of three spared their precious time to visit the foundry to witness the creation of the Empty Chair. Their presence was an encouragement to us in bringing the spirit of Liu Xiaobo out of China into the world.
Liu Xiaobo’s devotion to fight for human rights has been honored and respected by many around the world. When he learnt about being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in prison, he said to his wife in tears, “The Prize belongs to those who died in Tiananmen.” The opening remarks at the award ceremony in Oslo praised him as setting “the order and direction of the international community….He represents the mainstream of today’s world.” As a scholar, Liu wholeheartedly gave all he had to the people and the homeland he loved. In return, the Chinese Communist Party trampled on him to his death. Now that he has us, he has in fact been released from prison in China. He is no longer a figure in China alone. He represents the mainstream of the world and represents universal values. If Liu Xiaobo were the mainstream of the world, the political power who persecuted him would have self-exiled to an island in the mainstream of universal values.
Liu Xiaobo’s Peace Prize was accepted by an empty chair. Now the Empty Chair becomes a symbol of him, holding everyone’s desire for freedom and the desire from TADC to the world. Please join us on Saturday outside the Chinese Consulate in Toronto for the June 4 Rally and preview of the Empty Chair.
合照於尚待完成的銅座有麥燕庭、李柱銘、李卓人及雕刻家 Ruth Abernethy。
In the photo with the near-complete Empty Chair are Ms Ying-Ting Mak, Mr Martin Lee, Mr Cheuk-Yan Lee and the sculptor Ms Ruth Abernethy.