The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic conducted their first annual washing of the Pillar of Shame without the support of the Hong Kong University Student Union (HKUSU) on Monday.
The Pillar of Shame was erected in 1997 to mark the eighth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. The statue depicts a number of twisted bodies to symbolise those who died in the massacre, with the history of the event carved in the base. The statue was painted orange in 2008 as part of The Colour Orange project, which aimed to raise awareness of human rights issues in China.
Representatives from the pro-democracy Alliance including chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan first placed flowers at the pillar, then proceeded to scrub the engravings at the base.
The Alliance and the HKUSU had washed the statue together annually since the statue’s construction in 1997. This year marks the first time that the two groups have conducted the washing separately.
Last year the HKUSU split off from the the Alliance to hold an independent June 4 vigil on campus for the first time. The HKUSU has already conducted their own washing this year, and will also continue to hold their own vigil.
Ho said that if the youngsters believe that washing the statue on their own would attract more people to participate it is a good thing, RTHK reported.
“The first group to support the protesters in 1989 was the HKUSU. Therefore, no matter what happens we believe that they will continue to commemorate and memorialise the event whether they choose to do so at the university or at Victoria Park.”
The monument was erected 19 years ago.
The Alliance has seen the withdrawal of student support for the organisation over the past year with the HKUSU’s split last May, and last month with the withdrawal of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.