Kinmen County officials said yesterday they have dropped a plan to erect a statue of the Goddess of Democracy, a defining image of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, on an islet in sight of China.
The Kinmen County Government said the plan was put on hold because it could not find a “suitable location” for the 30m high statue by Chinese activist artist Chen Weiming (陳維明).
“We are still evaluating the project and there is no proper location for it. There is no political pressure involved,” an official at the county government said.
Chen has been raising funds for the project in the US, where he is based, to erect the statue on Kinmen, a fortified frontline island off Fujian Province, China.
Some observers suspect the plan was called off because of political concerns to avoid angering China.
“It’s quite possible and it would be very sad if that’s really the case as it shows that life in Taiwan is threatened by [the] authoritarian Chinese communist party,” said Wuer Kaixi, a former leader of the Tiananmen protests.
“I urge the Kinmen County Government not to set this precedent and risk losing Taiwan’s freedom,” said Wuer Kaixi, now a political commentator based in Taipei.
On the night of June 4, 1989, the Chinese military shot dead hundreds if not thousands of students and other pro-democracy protesters who had been demonstrating peacefully in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.