Art

Artist Weiming Chen unveils anti-Chinese government sculpture

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YERMO — A sculptor who has chipped statues for US political leaders, a British knight, and the Dalai Lama unveiled his newest job in unincorporated Yermo in a politically charged event centered around Sunday, the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Weiming Chen, who left China three decades ago and describes New Zealand as his home, was joined by a variety of Chinese separatists, US-based opponents of communism and armed security guards Sunday to introduce the roughly 30-foot-tall statue “CCP Virus” II” at his open-air High Desert art center called Liberty Sculpture Park.

A depiction of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping proteins, the sculpture features a massive skull with COVID-19 spike for hair, red-paint splatters representing blood, and the hammer and sickle, a symbol used by communists.

In 2021, Chen roll rolled out a similar depiction of Jinping, leader of China’s government and the Chinese Communist Party. But Chen and his team allege that China “sent…spies (to) attack that sculpture several times, and finally, burn it down” last year, referencing the fire that burned down the first “CCP Virus” sculpture, which the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department told the Daily Press its deputies responded to on the evening of July 23, 2021.

Chinese artist Weiming Chen unveiled the new CCP VIrrus II sculpture at his Liberty Sculpture Park in Yermo on June 5, 2022. His original anti-COVID-19 and anti-communist sculpture was burned after it was unveiled.

The person or people behind that inferno remain unconfirmed, but federal complaints unsealed by the US Department of Justice in March accused two individuals of “conspiring to act as agents of the (People’s Republic of China) government” of harassing Chen and imply they’re behind the fire.

The DOJ, in a March 16 press release, said the two alleged perpetrators are residents of New York — Fan “Frank” Liu, 62, and Matthew Ziburis, 49.

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