Hong Kong’s ‘Pillar of Shame’ Move Past Deadline

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Organizers of the Tiananmen Massacre, now banned in Hong Kong, have exceeded the deadline for removing a statue on the University of Hong Kong campus. The statue was erected in memory of the victims of China’s 1989 pro-democracy protest movement which ended with many deaths.

The university has set a Wednesday deadline for Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China to get rid of the eight-meter-tall statue, which has marked the university for nearly a quarter of a century.

The statue, created by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt in 1997 and donated to the HK Alliance, depicts 50 bodies twisted together in pain to commemorate the events of June 4, 1989, when the Chinese Liberation Army (PLA) drove pro -democracy protesters from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the number of those killed range from hundreds to thousands.

The “Pillar of Shame” statue, a memorial to those who died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, at the University of Hong Kong, Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

Members of the HK Alliance, which was forced to disband last month rather than face charges under the National Security Act, have asked for an extension, citing difficulties moving the “Pillar of Shame” statue due to typhoon-hit Hong Kong.

The HK Alliance is perhaps best known for hosting its annual devotional on June 4 before the event was banned last year.

Many institutions in Hong Kong are taking steps not to draw attention to Beijing focusing on purging what it sees as a challenge to its authority, particularly the memory of the massive and often violent pro-democracy protests that swept through the financial hub in 2019. [uh/ab]

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