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A memorial to Tiananmen Square in New Zealand.

OUTSIDE St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Alten Road in Auckland, New Zealand, stands a memorial stone dedicated to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Two prominent Chinese poets, Yang Lian and Gu Cheng, whose exile in New Zealand was defined by the events in Beijing, were instrumental in selecting the stone, which resembles the geographical shape of China, and persuading a local quarry to donate and transport it for them. The poets had been active in the organization of demonstrations in New Zealand as events in the square unfolded. In response to the massacre and subsequent political crackdown, which included the blacklisting of their own work, the poets and their New Zealand supporters organized a memorial festival in Auckland entitled "China: The Survivors" on September 17, 1989. The festival began with the laying of the stone, the St. Andrew's Church elders having come to the rescue after university authorities felt unable to accommodate the stone within the grounds of the city campus.

The Chinese inscription on the stone was composed by Yang Lian, and its English rendering is by noted Chinese literary scholar and translator John Minford, then head of the School of Asian Studies at the University of Auckland.

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This stone stands as a witness for those who cannot speak.

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In memory of the victims of the Peking Massacre of June 4, 1989, and all those who have given their lives for the ideal of freedom in China.

A more literal translation of the epitaph gives the transformation of the victims' disempowered cry of anguish into the survivors' cry of outrage: "You do not speak now, but the stone has taken on the cry." The stone stands as one of the few permanent monuments in the world to those who were killed in the massacre.

HILARY CHUNG

University of Auckland

HILARY CHUNG is Senior Lecturer in Chinese in the University of Auckland's School of Asian Studies. Her recent publications include Yang Lian's Unreal City: A Chinese Poet in Auckland, which she edited and translated with Jacob Edmond, and Displacement and Creativity: Homes Ruptured, Homes Remade, co-edited with Leonard Bell.
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Title Annotation:outposts: Literary Landmarks & Events
Author:Chung, Hilary
Publication:World Literature Today
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Words:363
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