- A university in Hong Kong on Thursday evening (local time) removed a statue commemorating the victims of the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing in 1989.
- As announced by the university, the decision was made on the basis of a legal opinion – in the quotation “the interest of the university”.
In 1989, several hundred people were killed in the violent crackdown on a protest in Beijing, the Tiananmen massacre – the statue at the University of Hong Kong has served as a reminder of these people for more than 20 years. Remembrance of the Tiananmen massacre is not permitted in mainland China.
The eight-meter “column of shame” was created by Danish sculptor Jens Galchiot. 50 torn and twisted bodies piled on top of each other on the column, symbolizing the victims of the bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations. Workers put up the memorial at the University of Hong Kong late Wednesday night.
The democratic movement has been practically disbanded
The statue was dismantled a few days after the landslide victory of pro-Beijing candidates in Hong Kong’s parliamentary elections. A change in the election law allowed all candidates to be screened to ensure they were “patriots” loyal to Beijing. The memorial was removed the same week that Hong Kong Prime Minister Carrie Lam traveled to Beijing to report on developments in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
The “pillar of shame” monument became a topic in October when the university demanded its removal despite protests from activists and right-wing groups. Galcchio offered to return her to Denmark, on the condition that he be granted legal immunity, so that he would not be prosecuted under Hong Kong’s National Security Act. However, he has not yet succeeded in doing so.
University: There was no permit
“Neither party has received approval from the university to place the statue on the campus, and the university has the right to take appropriate measures at any time,” the university said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the university, she was informed in a legal opinion that the statue would pose legal risks to the university. The university announced that it had applied to store the statue and would continue to seek legal advice on how to proceed.
Artist Galchiot said he would sue the university if necessary to protect the statue. He had previously written to the university to claim ownership of the monument, but his requests were largely ignored.
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