The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has built what appears to be a seating area at the site of a now-removed Tiananmen Massacre monument, after the university removed the Pillar of Shame from its campus in the middle of the night last month.
Following its demand last October that the monument be removed, HKU cited safety reasons and “legal risks” under the city’s colonial-era Crimes Ordinance after tearing own the statue itself whilst students were on break.
The site where the statue was erected has been surrounded by yellow barricades since the statue’s removal. Photos obtained by HKFP showed that there were round benches and tables placed in the area, but barricades were yet to be removed.
Jens Galschiøt, creator of the statue who also claims ownership of it, said after the sculpture’s removal that he was “totally shocked that Hong Kong University is currently destroying the Pillar of Shame.”
Former chief of the HKU Council Arthur Li said on Commercial Radio in early January that the Pillar of Shame was a “scam” and “irrelevant” to the crackdown.
The Tiananmen crackdown occurred on June 4, 1989 ending months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died when the People’s Liberation Army cracked down on protesters in Beijing.
The Danish sculptor hit back at the criticism and said that he created the Pillar of Shame with the intention to “create a monument that remembered various landmark crimes against humanity around the world.”
“The same sculpture was to be erected in several different places in the world to mark these crimes,” said Galschiøt in a statement published in early January.
Support HKFP | Code of Ethics | Error/typo? | Contact Us | Newsletter | Transparency & Annual Report
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.