Monument to the People's Heroes
The Monument to the People's Heroes (Chinese: 人民英雄纪念碑; pinyin: Rénmín Yīngxióng Jìniànbēi) is a ten-story obelisk that was erected as a national monument of the People's Republic of China to the martyrs of revolutionary struggle during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is located in the southern part ofTiananmen Square in Beijing, to the north of Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. The monument was built in accordance with a resolution of the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference adopted on November 30, 1949, with construction lasting from August 1952 to May 1958. The architect of the monument was Liang Sicheng, with some elements designed by his wife, Lin Huiyin. The civil engineer, Chen Zhide (陈志德) was also instrumental in realizing the final product. The monument has also served as the center of large-scale mourning activities that later developed into protest and unrest, such as the deaths of Premier Zhou Enlai (which developed into the Tiananmen Square protests of 1976) and Hu Yaobang (which developed into the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989).
The body of the monument sits on two layers of Buddhist-style bases. The upper, smaller one is carved with a pattern of eight garlands made up of peony, lotus, chrysanthemum and other flowers. The larger one below is beset with ten big white marble bas-relief, eight of which reflect revolutionary events in China's modern history. In historical sequence, they are "Burning Opium in Humen", and "Jintian Uprising" on the east side, "Wuchang Uprising", "May Fourth Movement", and "May 30th Movement of 1925" on the south side, "Nanchang Movement", and "Anti-Japanese War" on the west side and "Campaign of Crossing Changjiang River on the north side (the front). "Crossing Yangtze River Campaign" also on the front, is the largest among the ten, with two decorative works "Supporting the Frontline" and "Greeting the People's Liberation Army". All of the ten bas-reliefs, featuring more than 170 figures, are 2m high, 2 to 6.4m wide and reach to a total length of 40.68m. The pedestal is divided into two layers, 50.44m from east to west and 61.5m from south to north. Both of the upper square one and lower one are surrounded with columns and steps.
The epigraph on the south side inscribed by Zhou Enlai is as follows:
Eternal glory to the heroes of the people who laid down their lives in the people's war of liberation and the people's revolution in the past three years! Eternal glory to the heroes of the people who laid down their lives in the people's war of liberation and the people's revolution in the past thirty years! Eternal glory to the heroes of the people who from 1840 laid down their lives in many struggles against domestic and foreign enemies for national independence, freedom and the well-being of the people! (Note: the "past three years" refers roughly to the Chinese Liberation War (1946-1949); the "past thirty years" refers to the New Democratic Revolution from the May Fourth Movement in 1919 to the end of the revolution in 1949; and "from 1840" refers to the general struggle of the Chinese people against the various external and internal strife from the beginning of the Opium Wars to the establishment of the People's Republic of China.)