Chinese-Australian artist Badiucao has teamed up with Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt for a free expression event in Denmark.
New artworks were unveiled relating to the coronavirus and human rights, as Amnesty International’s Danish branch warned that Beijing was exploiting the outbreak to crack down on civil liberties in Hong Kong.
Galschiøt’s harrowing tribute to the 1989 Tiananmen massacre victims, the Pillar of Shame, was adapted to include face-masks, as a nod to the Covid-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China.
“[The] Covid-19 pandemic is caused by censorship [by] China‘s government and now it has started to exploit the global crisis and use it to weaken the principle of free world,” Badiucao said, unveiling a new cartoon adapted from the infamous “Tank Man” photo.
“Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom is one of the most direct victim[s] of Beijing‘s crackdown”
Beijing faced criticism for silencing a doctor over the outbreak last December. Over 4.5 million people have now been infected, with over 300,000 deaths worldwide.
Galschiøt also said that China had exploited the crisis: “It’s amazing that we got Badiucao, one of China’s most prominent street art artists – China’s response to Banksy – to create a unique work for our happening. It is artistically brilliant that he has managed to link the brutal use of power, the democracy movement and the exploitation of the corona crisis.”
15 pro-democracy figures – including barrister Martin Lee – are set to appear in court on Monday in Hong Kong facing unlawful assembly charges. Amnesty has called for the charges to be dropped.
Badiucao added that the pro-democracy in Hong Kong was an inspiration: “The free world must watch China closely more than anytime and we must understand Hong Kong is the frontline of freedom fight for China.”
The artistic collaboration comes weeks before the anniversary of the 1989 June 4 massacre, which saw hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pro-democracy demonstrators killed by the military in Beijing.