Hong Kong — A sculptor of statues commemorating the victims of the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989 in China said on Friday that the removal from the University of Hong Kong was “brutal”, but any damage was recent under Chinese control. It will symbolize the change of the city.
The eight-meter (26-foot) sculpture of the suffering human torso was one of the few remaining public monuments in the former British colony, remembering the crackdown on opposition to democratization. This is a taboo topic in mainland China that cannot be publicly commemorated. ..
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) dismantled and removed two tons of copper artwork known as the “pillar of shame” from the campus on Wednesday because of legal and other concerns.
“Of course we could have repaired everything, but maybe it was damaged,” Danish sculptor Jens Galschiø told Reuters in an interview.
“It sounds strange, but it’s also a symbol. This is what they … are going to Hong Kong.”
I couldn’t ask the university for comment late Friday.
This statue was already seen by democracy activists as an important symbol of the widespread freedom promised to Hong Kong during its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
The city has traditionally held the world’s largest annual rally to commemorate the crackdown on Tiananmen Square. However, it has undergone an authoritarian shift after China imposed a drastic national security law in 2020 in response to a long-standing anti-democratic movement a year ago.
Human rights activists say the law is being used to suppress civil society, imprison democratic activists, and limit basic freedoms. Authorities claim that it restores stability and personal rights are intact.
On Wednesday night, loud noises from power tools and chains emanate from the closed area for hours, after which workers carry separate parts of the statue and wind them up towards a shipping container waiting on a crane. Was seen. HKU said it kept them on Thursday.
“It’s cruel to move it like they did,” Galschiot said. “No one accepted it. No one should do that. It’s really unfair.”
The Communist Party ruler in Beijing has never fully described the 1989 violence in and around Tiananmen Square. Authorities have killed about 300 people, but rights groups and witnesses say thousands could have been killed.
Two other Hong Kong universities removed the Tiananmen Square monument on Friday.