Monument to the people’s Heroes
The Monument to the people’s Heroes dominates the center of Tian’anmen Square. It symbolizes the respect of the Chinese people for their revolutionary martyrs and represents the heroic struggle of the Chinese people against internal and external enemies.
The Monument to the People’s Heroes was built in memory of the martyrs who laid down their lives for the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people in the past century. It was built in accordance with the resolution of the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference adopted on September 30, 1949. The late Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976) and other delegates laid the corner stone for the monument on that afternoon.
The granite obelisk, which stands on a double terrace with marble balustrades, weighs 60 tons and is 14.7 metres high. The 37.94 meter-high monument, 3.24 metres higher than Tian’anmen gate tower, was opened on July 1, 1958. It is the biggest monument in China. The terrace encompasses more than 3,000 square metres, and the lower terrace is in the shape of a crab-apple flower. The lower terrace is 50.44 metres from east to west. and 61.5 metres from north to south.
At the top of two flights of granite stairs is a double sumeru (also known as Diamond Throne, a traditional Chinese architectural stone foundation; formerly it was used as a foundation stone to place a Buddhist figure on it, later it has been employed for the building. Generally speaking, It is built of bricks or stones, engraved with concave and convex designs, and derivative patterns) plinth on which stands the shaft of the obelisk of mauve granite. The monument is built of 17,000 pieces of granites and marble,weighing 10,000 tons. There are all together more than 170 figures on the monument.
The stone tablet is from Qingdao, Shandong Province. On the front is an inscription in the late Chairman Mao’s handwriting: “Eternal glory to the people’s heroes! ” On the back is the late Premier Zhou Enlai’s message: “Eternal glory to the people’s heroes who laid down their lives in the War of Liberation in the past three years and the people’s revolution in the past three decades! Eternal glory to the peoples heroes who laid down their lives in the struggles against foreign and domestic enemies,for national Independence and for the people’s freedom and happiness from 1840 onward!”
The relief on the Monument to the people’s Heroes
Eight white marble reliefs placed around the lower plinth depict scenes from Chinese history since 1840: Starting from the east, these are:
Burning Opium in the Opium Warin 1840
A revolutionary movement broke out to resist the smuggling of large quantities of opium into China by the British imperialists. From June 3 to 25,1839, more than 1,185,000 kilogrammes of opium was destroyed. It showed the Chinese people’s determination to struggle against imperialism and marked beginning of their resistance.
Jintian Village Uprising in Taiping Revolution
The Taiping Revolution(1851-64)was the biggest and longest revolutionary peasant uprising in Chinese history. Led by Hong Xiuquan(1814-64), this great anti-imperialist, anti-feudal peasant movement first broke out in Jintian Villagein in Guangxi 1851. The revolutionary flames soon spread to six provi-nces and the revolutionaries established their capital in Nanjing.
Wuchang Uprising(The1911 Revolution)
The year 1911 was the year in which the decisive battle against the Manchu government was fought. Late on the evening of October 10, the revolutionary forces wrecked the cannon in front of the office building of the governor of both Hunan and Hubei provinces, pulled down the royal flag and broke through the gate of he governor’s mansion. The first success of the revolution was at Wuhan, Hubei Province. The last feudal dynasty collapsed under the fierce attack of the revolutionary torrent on October 10, 1911. The 1911 Revolution sent an emperor packing, but failed to demolish the foundation of feudal rule.
May4 th movement
An anti-imperialist patriotic movement broke out on May 4, 1919 in Beijing.It was the turning point of the Chinese democratic revolution. On that day several thousand Beijing students held a rally in front of Tian’anmen. A parade followed in which participants held aloft banners inscribed”No signature to the ‘peace treaty’! ” and distributed the leaflets “Uphold our sovereignty! Punish the traitors!”The May Fourth Movement was of historic significance.
May 30th Movement
A demonstration by Shanghai workers and students on May 30, 1925 ushered in a vigorous anti-imperialist movement. demonstrators’ “’ thundered ” Down with the imperialists! ” and “Revenge Gu Zhenghong (1905-25), a splendid representative of china’s workers shot down by the imperialists! ”
Chiang kai-shek(1887-1975) launched a coup on April 12, 1927 and began slaughtering Communists. To save the revolution and continue struggle, the Chinese Communist Party fired the first shot at the Kuomintang reactionaries in the Nanchang Uprising on August 1, 1927. This was the day the Chinese Communist Party began to lead the revolutionary armed forces independently against the counter-revolutionary armed forces. Hence August 1st is the birthday of the Chinese people’s Liberation Army.
War of Resistance Against Japan
Armymen and civilians in the revolutionary base areas carried out chairman Mao’s thinking on protracted war. The Chinese Communist Party called on the people’s army to go to the enemy’s rear to launch guerrilla warfare, mine warfare,etc. War educated the people and the people won the war.
Successful Crossing of the Yangtze River
An army one million strong made a forced crossing of the Yangtze River on April 21, 1949 to overthrow the Chiang kai-shek regime. On the right are the masses helping the People’s Liberation Armymen (PLA) to make the crossing. On the left are the liberated Nanjing people welcoming the entrance of the PLA men. The liberation of the Kuomintang capital heralded the liberation of the whole country.
Each relief is two metres high, and altogether 170 figures are depicted. It look China’s leading sculptors and stonemasons more than five years to complete the carving.
The Monument to the People’s Heroes underwent a major renovation to patch up cracks and leaks in 2006. Leaks had been found in the cellar under the monument and cracks spotted in the basement. The project cost about 3 million yuan (US$375,000). The cracks and leaks would have no major effect on the monument; but renovation was needed for maintenance. After more than 50 years of weathering. the white marbles of thee monument could be easily damaged during renovation. Each marble was marked, so that they could be put into their original places during the project. A similar renovation was conducted in 1991. And in September 2004, days before the National Day, minor repairs were done.