Commentary: At around 6 pm on July 23, 2021, a large sculpture in Liberty Sculpture Park in California, USA, was suddenly set on fire. This is a scene of flames and smoke billowing into the sky captured by nearby residents.
I was in front of this ruin. I had rushed back from San Francisco and was very depressed.
Commentary: This is the Chinese sculptor Chen Weiming. This sculpture was his hard work for more than half a year. The name of the sculpture is “CCP Virus”. Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s head is depicted as a giant coronavirus molecule.
Days before the arson, the sculpture had been sawed open with power tools and attempts to pull it down were unsuccessful.
At first I wanted to pull it off or saw it open, which I did while I was in San Francisco. Then I said I would come back right away, but the result was that they burned it on the day I came back.
They knew my whereabouts and installed a GPS in my car.
Commentary: The “they” mentioned by Chen Weiming refer to those who work for the Communist Party of China.
(The Chinese Communist Party) hates me for more than a day or two. Since 1989, both my sculptures and the kind of protests I have been engaged in have been directed against the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party.
Then this time they must get rid of it quickly, because I told the truth. The truth is that the virus came from China, and it was the Chinese government’s inaction. Whether it was leaked or something, it came from China. First of all, in Wuhan. And they did not actively tell the World Health Organization about this situation, but concealed the truth.
Commentary: Chen Weiming bluntly accused that the burning of the “Chinese Communist Party Virus” sculpture was by no means an individual act, but a deliberate and organized act of sabotage by the Chinese Communist Party.
Because this is a direct smear against their so-called great leader. This is what they are most taboo about.
Commentary: A year later, his words were verified.
In July 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that five men were charged with carrying out a transnational repression conspiracy, conspiring to destroy the artwork of a Chinese artist, illegally obtaining his personal information, and installing surveillance equipment in his workplace and car. , in order to control his whereabouts from China.
This artist is none other than Chen Weiming.
Falling into a huge conspiracy
Commentary: This is the Liberty Sculpture Park located next to Interstate 15 connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas. A sign at the entrance to the park reads “No Communists Allowed.”
In 2017, Chen Weiming and his friends bought this 36-acre land in the Mojave Desert. In the yellow sand of the desert, an open-air memorial park with the theme of opposing communist tyranny was carved out step by step.
At the beginning of 2021, Chen Weiming was building a “CCP Virus” sculpture, completely unaware that a huge conspiracy was unfolding around him.
According to the indictment, the defendant Liu Fan claimed to be the president of a media company in New York. His superior, Sun Qiang, is an employee of an international technology company in China.
Under Sun Qiang’s instructions, Liu Fan sent private detective Mathew Ziburis to the Liberty Sculpture Park in March of that year , pretending to be an art dealer.
They sent an American over and asked my former art agent named Rong Wei to bring him over. Rong Wei told me, Wei Ming, you have become famous now. You are a Jewish businessman, very rich, and you are very familiar with Obama, Biden, and Nancy Pelosi. Such a big boss said that he likes your sculpture of democracy and freedom and wants to display it in the best museum in New York.
For an artist, isn’t our team very honorable? After going through this matter, I signed a contract and so on, and put down a deposit of 20,000 yuan. All our volunteers were excited and did not feel that there was such a big conspiracy inside.
He was here at the time, and I later found out that he was a spy. This Matthew, I’m sitting here, Matthew is sitting there.
That Matthew, he has now pleaded guilty. If you plead guilty, the sentence will be about two and a half years. If you don’t plead guilty, it will be more serious. He is now like a tainted witness. How did the CCP let him do such a thing? It’s that Liu Fan, (commander) Liu Fan is the one whose name you just mentioned. He’s in China, I forgot.
Reporter: Sun Qiang.
Sun Qiang, yes, that’s the line.
This is next to the solar panel. There is a camera. There is a camera over there. He broadcasts it in real time through this. He told me that it was for his Jewish boss to see. In fact, when the mystery was revealed later, we learned that this was sent directly to the wanted personnel of the Ministry of Public Security of China.
They are also secretly investigating my tax issues. In order to make the U.S. judiciary disgrace us, they are conducting secret investigations and bribing U.S. officials and tax officials to obtain information in this regard.
This kind of organization and this kind of madness of the Communist Party has no bottom line. Instead of trying to reason with you, he will engage in some small conspiracies.
Commentary: Chen Weiming said that the CCP also placed informants in his volunteer team.
I didn’t know about this informant at the time, but I knew that he was someone who came from New York and was introduced to me. He was quite enthusiastic about democracy. Later, people said that he was reflecting the situation here, taking photos and so on. So I went and asked him.
I said, if you have really provided anything to the Lao Communist Party, I hope you will surrender to the FBI. He didn’t think so. Later, when Wang Shujun was caught, he went to the FBI to surrender himself the next day.
Commentary: Wang Shujun, 73, came to the United States in the 1990s as a visiting scholar at Columbia University and later became an American citizen. In March 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted him for acting as an agent of the Chinese government since 2015, collecting information on pro-democracy activists and reporting it to Chinese security agencies. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Skynet is sparse but not leaking
Commentary: In the United States, Chen Weiming also had face-to-face confrontations with other people who worked for the Communist Party.
Chen Jun: Are you a green card or a citizen?
Chen Weiming: It’s not important. What is your identity?
Chen Jun: I am an American citizen.
Chen Weiming: You are an American citizen, so you should not raise a red flag on American soil. You took an oath to be loyal to the United States under the American flag.
Commentary: This is a scene that happened in Los Angeles, USA, in September 2019. The man holding the loudspeaker is called Chen Jun, and he is an influential local Chinese overseas leader.
This day is a big day for the local pro-Beijing Chinese community. They carefully planned a grand flag-raising ceremony and invited Chinese consulate officials and American dignitaries to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
Outside the venue, it was a different scene.
Our democracy activists and many other dissidents were holding statues of the Goddess of Democracy and black national flags. So Chen Jun was very angry, and he came out to argue with me.
Chen Jun: Okay, let me tell you, if you have a Chinese passport, you know that if we take a picture of you now, you will never be able to go back to China.
Protester: We’re taking pictures of you now.
Chen Jun: Even if you go back, we will arrest you.
Protesters: We will report you to the FBI today.
Chen Jun: Second, I will arrest you when you get back.
Protester: You are threatening us. You threaten us.
We also sued him and went to court because he was threatening me and threatening me publicly. I said at that time, why don’t you arrest Chen Jun? This person who is waving the flag and shouting for the Communist Party is the pawn of China’s infiltration in the United States. Why don’t you arrest him? They smiled and said nothing.
Commentary: In May 2023 , 70-year- old Chen Jun was arrested in Los Angeles. He and another local Chinese were accused of bribing IRS officials to assist the Chinese government in its transnational suppression of Falun Gong.
Reporter: How did you feel when you heard that Chen Jun was arrested and prosecuted?
I am very happy. I just feel that Skynet is sparse and not leaking out. If he walks too much at night, he will definitely be punished.
Of course what they do is recorded in the accounts. Now we are faced with the political and civil circles in the United States, which are beginning to truly understand the CCP’s penetration into Western society.
America is starting to wake up. In the past, when China and the United States were friendly, everyone embraced the “panda”, right? This lovely “panda” China. Let China’s wealth increase and its people become rich. Then the Communist Party will enter a democratic and free society and integrate into the big family of the international community.
Since China’s social economy has developed more and more, the common people have not benefited, only those interest groups have benefited. Moreover, they use this kind of military expansion to maintain stability and threaten the world, which is becoming increasingly unstable.
So they feel that what we are fattening is a wolf.
We cannot forget China’s suffering
Commentary: Chen Weiming was not born to be on the opposite side of the Communist Party. He was born in Hangzhou in 1956. He graduated from the sculpture major of the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts in 1982. He later worked at the Hangzhou Architectural Design Institute, responsible for urban sculpture design, and his journey was smooth.
It turns out that the works I made before I was 30 years old felt very superficial. I wanted to make a six- or seven-meter-tall beauty, and the flowers were all made of red silk, and they were like birds singing and dancing everywhere.
Back then, you see this style, this feeling, it seemed that a pretty woman was still singing praises for the party and the country. Youth, Lion Dance, etc. are all works in this category.
This is what I do. Our Hangzhou is not a country of cultural relics, but excavated cultural relics. I do four: a country of cultural relics, a house of silk, a land of plenty, and another one, which always wins me awards.
I made many times more money in my twenties than I do now. The money I made at that time was almost a hundred times that of the average college student. When others paid more than 100 yuan, my royalties were always 20,000 yuan.
Commentary: Chen Weiming moved to New Zealand in 1988. The following year, he saw the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing on television. It became an unforgettable pain in his life and completely changed his artistic trajectory.
I won’t do that kind of stuff after June 4th. It doesn’t have much meaning and is not attractive to me anymore. There are so many themes that attract me, such as women in chains, which you can’t even speak out in China. A few months later, people rarely mention it anymore.
There are no beauties in the sculptures here, but from the girls we fought in Hong Kong, their desire for human freedom and their yearning for pursuit, I feel that kind of beauty, not the original superficial beauty. . I felt the spiritual beauty in the helpless expressions of those female students who retreated from Tiananmen on June 4th.
Narrator: In a small town in California’s Mojave Desert, the average summer temperature is more than 40 degrees. Chen Weiming and several volunteers live a simple life in this harsh climate and sparsely populated place, working with cement and steel bars all day long.
It’s over a hundred (Fahrenheit) degrees (about 40 degrees Celsius) here. My butt is burning to death. This iron sieve can fry an egg for you, but we are here. That’s how it works.
The pants are all riddled with holes, and what’s especially annoying is that if you wear gloves, you can’t take out a spark if it falls in them. If you didn’t wear gloves, they would fall off as soon as you flick them. If you fall into this kind of thing, it will hurt you to death, and it can’t come out. You have to wait until it slowly goes out before you can take it out, so it hurts very much. Everyone had burns, and later everyone saw who had the most burns. So when people look at it (the sculpture), it’s quite beautiful, but I don’t know how we welded it inch by inch.
Commentary: While making the Escape to Hong Kong sculpture, Chen Weiming was seriously injured and required 23 stitches on his leg. He smiled and said that he finally shed his blood for democracy.
Before moving to the United States, he lived a leisurely life in New Zealand.
This is the big house in New Zealand. This is the outdoor balcony. The kitten is over there. It’s a very relaxing life. The green grass below, this is the swimming pool. This is one of the halls, this is the cat outside, living a leisurely life.
But for a person, everyone has different pursuits. We strive for democracy and freedom so that everyone can have such a good life. Someone has to fight. Now that I am struggling, people say Chen Weiming, you have done a great job and you have contributed a lot. But compared to Gao Zhisheng and Wang Bingzhang, who are we?
It’s really not a big deal. They endured such pain, torture, and humiliation in prison. I don’t have any. That’s way too little compared to what I paid for them.
Rise from the ashes
Commentary: After the “CCP Virus” sculpture was burned, Chen Weiming vowed to build a “CCP Virus II” that is stronger and not afraid of fire. He said that the Communist Party can burn a sculpture, but it cannot burn their determination to record history.
This inscription explains why the statue of Virus II was built, because the first one was burned by them. They originally thought that if you burn it, it’s gone, and you can’t make another one. I said, I swear, this battlefield has now become a battlefield, and we are engaged in a tug-of-war with the Communist Party here.
We can’t let him succeed. If he burns, we’re doomed. If he succeeds, he’s victorious. We must once again nail him to this historical pillar of shame. It also shows our determination. So do the second one. I said if you burn it again, I will make it again. He thought that in this case, in the first, second, third or fourth life, they would be embarrassed even more.
Reporter: What is the message you most want to convey to the world?
This truth has been wiped out by the entire society under the CCP’s propaganda. There is no Cultural Revolution Museum or Anti-Rightist Museum in China. They don’t want you to remember China’s criminal history. But I want to leave this historical truth to future generations. We must not forget this painful history of China. Because forgetting means it will happen again. Isn’t China’s Cultural Revolution coming back again?
I’m in America, the land of the free, why can’t I express them? Tell the world forever that this happened in China