China Peace,commissioned to help get the word into China about what really
happened during the terrible events of June, 1989. Copies of the bronze sculpture were also
awarded as diplomatic gifts to:
- Li Lu,
deputy leader of the Chinese Pro Democracy movement of Tiananmen
Square, listed on the Chinese government's "most wanted" list, 1989
- Vaclev Havel, President of the Czech Republic, 1990
- Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, 1990
Corretta Scott King receives the China Peace from Li Lu.
Li Lu, deputy leader of the Chinese democracy uprising receives the sculpture China Peace.
The China Peace story
week after the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in June, 1989, a
group of the escaped Chinese dissidents joined Chinese students who
were studying in the US at the time and formed an organization in
Boston called the China Information Center. Their purpose was to
try to get the word back into China about what had really happened at
Tiananmen Square since the Chinese government, humiliated by the
successes of the democracy movement, was covering up the event.
heard that I do this kind of work, they called me to help them raise
money through creating an artwork to commemorate the event. The
money that was raised by the sale of the sculpture, “China Peace” was
used to fund a drive to subvert the government censors and get the
truth to the Chinese people. It was done by taking a narrative of
the event, complete with photos of the massacre, and faxing it to
random numbers throughout China. Over the next weeks the real
news of the event spontaneously erupted from fax machines all over
China. It became known as the “first fax revolution in history”.
Chinese government's attempt to kill the grass-roots democracy
movement– shared by a wide swath of the population, not just students–
only works for the short term. We have all watched with amazement
as China's economy has exploded. Much of the reason for this
sudden turn away from communist economic models is due to the
leadership's need to ease the danger of a broad longing for
freedom. Their choice is brilliant: by diverting attention away
from human rights toward personal consumption afforded by new
capitalist opportunities, the masses are placated. For a time.
feel incredibly honored to have been able to participate in such an
earth-shaking milestone in Chinese history. May we all be
vigilant for decoys to real human freedoms!
the tanks rumbled through Tiananmen Square in June 1989, it wasn't just
the dissident students who suffered. It wasn't only the Chinese people
who suffered. We all joined hearts in the Chinese students' movement
for freedom. So a week later when I was asked to create a sculpture to celebrate the essence of the freedom
movement, I strove to express a personal struggle as well as a global
Freedom Comes Not Easy
I based my design on the Chinese characters of
the ts'ao-shu, or "grass" calligraphy style which, being a loose,
spontaneous style, expressed the lust for freedom most gracefully. This
style guided me in projecting a three dimensional form from the two
dimensions of the written symbols.
From the front one can make out the characters for peace, which reflect
the Chinese dissidents' absolute devotion to non-violent resistance.
From the side, these same characters become a leaping figure,
expressing the Chinese quest for liberty within the context of the
desire of all living beings to breathe free.
viewed from the front, forms the Chinese characters for "peace".
When veiwed from the side one sees a leaping figure, symbolizing the
non-violent intent of the Chinese democracy movement.
Presentation at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
Czech Pres. Vaclav Havel with "China Peace"