Taiwan Plans Sculpture Honoring Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel-Winning Activist

Taiwan Plans Sculpture Honoring Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel-Winning Activist

China’s Communist government was enraged when the Nobel Prize committee awarded Mr. Liu the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Held incommunicado in prison, he was unable to attend the Nobel ceremony, and his prize was placed on an empty chair.

Last year, the Chinese authorities announced that Mr. Liu had late-stage liver cancer, rejecting demands that he be released to seek treatment abroad. He died on July 13, and was promptly cremated, with his ashes tossed into the sea far from China’s coast, a move that Mr. Liu’s friends and supporters believe was made to deny them a place to commemorate him.

In Hong Kong, in a move to reawaken waning support for the coming 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, democracy advocates unveiled a bust of Mr. Liu on Thursday in a popular shopping district.

Commemoration of the dead can be a form of political protest in China; the Tiananmen Square protests initially sprang from commemoration of the death of Hu Yaobang, the liberal former secretary general of the Communist Party who had been deposed two years earlier.

The bronze sculpture in Taipei will feature an empty chair, recalling the Nobel Prize ceremony, across from a large open book featuring Mr. Liu’s writings, lying flat with a rose on top. Between the two will be an eight-foot medal resembling the Nobel Prize, but with Mr. Liu’s visage on it, along with one of his more famous statements — “I have no enemies.” — in Chinese and English.

Aihua Cheng, the sculptor commissioned for the piece, said it was not until she had read Mr. Liu’s writings and watched videos of him on YouTube that she appreciated his bravery and commitment to democracy.

“I truly got to know him through his writing and thought,” Ms. Cheng said. “It deeply moved me.”

Friends of Liu Xiaobo has secured a three-month temporary permit for the installation, and has applied for a permanent permit, Mr. Wu’er said. Nongovernmental organizations including Reporters Without Borders, the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights and the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation are also lending support to the project.

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