China: The “Pillar of Shame”, the sculpture for the victims of the repression of Tiananmen Square, is demolished

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THE “Pillar of Shame” eight meters high, the sculpture created by the Danish sculptor Jens Galshiot to pay tribute to the victims of the repression of the square Tiananmen in the Beijing on June 4, 1989, will no longer adorn the space University of Hong Kong (HKU)

The Danish sculptor of the statue commemorating the pro-democracy protesters killed during the crackdown in Tiananmen Square of Of China in 1989, he blamed his top university Hong Kong for “mafia” type tactics due to his order to remove the work of art from the premises of the institution.

THE Jens Galshiot lent forever the volumetric two-tone, bronze sculpture, which he named «Pillar of Shame» to a local civil society group, the Alliance of Hong Kong for supporting patriotic democratic movements in China.

However, after the group disbanded last month with some members accused of national security offenses, the University of Hong Kong sent a letter to the alliance last week asking to remove the statue from campus by the afternoon of Wednesday, October 13th.

“These people are in prison. “And the university says that the sculpture must be removed within four days,” he said. Galshiot in the Reuters via Zoom, referring to some of the members of the group who are in prison for anti-government demonstrations in 2019.

“I think this is all a warning, that they want to destroy the sculpture if their request is not accepted. This is a kind of mafia. “I’m really shocked,” he added.

The University of Hong Kong stated in response to an email sent to Reuters that it continues to seek legal advice on the management of the sculpture and “cooperates with related parties to handle the matter in a lawful and reasonable manner”.

Taboo subject

The sculpture has been on display at the university for more than two decades and is one of the few remaining public symbols of repression in and around Tiananmen Square of Beijing, which took place more than 30 years ago and which is still a taboo subject in mainland China, where it can not be publicly honored.

The statue, which o Galshiot estimated to be worth about 1.2 million euros, depicts dozens of battered and deformed bodies symbolizing the slain.

THE China never provided a full account of the 1989 crackdown. The death toll given by officials days later was about 300, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say thousands may have been killed.

The Danish artist said that he contacted the university to explain to the people in charge that he is the owner of the statue and to offer to help in what he described as a “complicated operation” for his removal.

“This is my property, so if they destroy it, then we will take action. I think there is still some legal system in Hong Kong “for the protection of private property,” he said.

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