Democracy Award

Above: Liu Xiaobo(left), and Xu Zhiyong, both imprisoned human rights activists in China, received the 2014 Democracy Award. 


The Democracy Award is given annually by the National Endowment for Democracy’s Board of Directors to recognize the courageous and creative work of individuals and organizations that have advanced the cause of human rights and democracy around the world.

On May 29, the 2014 Democracy Award honored two imprisoned Chinese human rights activists, Liu Xiaobo and Xu Zhiyong:

On June 4, 1989, the world watched as Chinese tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, bringing a violent end to the peaceful, student-led democracy movement and killing hundreds, maybe thousands, of citizens who sought political reform. Despite this brutal crackdown, and 25 years of harsh repression since, brave Chinese voices continue to call for democracy and human rights. The National Endowment for Democracy is proud to honor two of these voices – Liu Xiaobo and Xu Zhiyong – both locked in Chinese prisons because the regime views the power of their ideas as an existential challenge. We also honor today a tireless defender of human rights in China and around the world, the Hon. Frank Wolf :: MORE

Goddess of Democracy: Symbol of Democracy Around the Globe

The NED’s Democracy Award is a small-scale replica of the Goddess of Democracy that was constructed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China during the student movement for freedom and democracy in 1989.

The original statue was created by art students from the Central Academy of Art in Beijing and by democracy demonstrators; it was unveiled in Tiananmen Square on May 30, 1989. During the government crackdown on June 4, the statue was destroyed by a tank—an unforgettable moment that was witnessed throughout the world.

San Francisco sculptor Thomas Marsh led a project to re-create a 10-foot bronze replica of the original Goddess of Democracy with the help of some Chinese students beginning in 1989. The bronze replica was unveiled in 1994 by Chinese dissidents and Representative Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco. Later, Marsh created smaller replicas of the statue to recognize those around the world who have made contributions to the movement for democracy.

In 1991 the National Endowment for Democracy began presenting the symbolic statuette as its annual Democracy Award.

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