The University of Hong Kong has removed a statue depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre from its campus.
The 8-meter (26-foot) tall “Pillar of Shame”, which depicts fifty torn and twisted bodies heaped on high of each other, was created by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt. The statue showed a pile of corpses in memory of pro-democracy protesters killed by Chinese authorities in 1989.
This pillar is known as the symbol of the lives lost throughout the bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June four, 1989.
Workers blockaded the monument at the University of Hong Kong late Wed night. Drilling sounds and loud noise could be detected coming from the boarded-up website, which was patrolled by guards.
The dismantlement of the sculpture came days once pro-Beijing candidates scored a landslide triumph in the Hong Kong legislative elections, once amendments in election laws allowed the vetting of all candidates to confirm that they’re “patriots” loyal to Beijing.
The removal additionally happened in the same week that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam travelled to Beijing to report on developments within the semi-autonomous Chinese city, where authorities have silenced dissent following the implementation of a sweeping national security law that looked as if it would target abundant of the pro-democracy movement following mass protests in 2019.
The Pillar of Shame monument became an issue in Oct, with the university wanting that it’s removed, at the same time as activists and rights groups protested. Galschiøt offered to take it back to Denmark provided he was given legal immunity that he will not be persecuted under Hong Kong’s national security law, however has not succeeded up to now.
the university said in an exceeding statement Thursday, “No party has ever obtained any approval from the university to show the statute on campus, and also the university has the right to take acceptable actions to handle it at any time,”
“Latest legal recommendation given to the university cautioned that the continued display of the statue would cause legal risks to the university supported the Crimes Ordinance enacted under the Hong Kong colonial government.”
The university said that it had requested for the statue to be placed in storage and would still look for legal recommendations on follow-up actions.
In October, the university informed the now-defunct candlelight vigil organizer, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, that it had to get rid of the statue following “the latest risk assessment and legal recommendation.”
The organization had said that it absolutely was dissolving, citing a climate of oppression, which it failed to own the sculpture. The university was told to talk to its creator instead.
When reached by The Associated Press, sculptor Galschiøt said he was only responsive to what was happening to the sculpture Wed. from social media and alternative reports. “We do not know what did exactly happen, however, I concern they destroy it,” he said. “This is my sculpture, and it’s my property.”
Galschiøt said that he is ready to sue the university if necessary to protect the sculpture.
He had antecedently written to the university to claim his ownership of the monument, although his requests had gone for the most part unheeded.
The Pillar of Shame monument has been erected for over twenty years, and at first, stood at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park before eventually being moved to the University of Hong Kong on a long basis.
Every year on June four, members of the now-defunct student union would wash the statue to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre.
Over the past 2 years, the annual visible candlelight in Hong Kong had been banned by authorities, who cited public risks from the coronavirus pandemic.
Some twenty-four activists were charged for his or her roles in the Tiananmen vigil last year, throughout that activists turned up and thousands followed, breaking past barricades in the park to sing songs and light candles despite the police ban on the event.