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Hong Kong Removes Monument from Tiananmen Square


Hong Kong Removes Monument from Tiananmen Square

Credit: Unsplash

Back in 1989, a demonstration led by Chinese university students took place in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Tragically, the Chinese military intervened and used their tanks to quash the protest, resulting in the deaths of these brave students. Fast forward to 1997, Jens Galschiøt, a sculptor from Denmark, created a memorial named the “Pillar of Shame.” This monumental structure, standing at 26 feet tall, symbolizes the fallen bodies of the students who lost their lives during the Tiananmen Square uprising. Erected on the University of Hong Kong’s grounds, this sculpture served as both a tribute to the victims and a subtle form of protest against the Chinese authorities. Engraved on its plaque are the words “The old cannot extinguish the young forever.”

Regrettably, due to recent anti-subversion legislation imposed by Beijing, the statue was forcibly taken down from its longstanding position at HKU today. Construction barriers were swiftly placed around the sculpture in the early hours of the morning, accompanied by the sounds of destructive work. Swathed in opaque plastic, the “Pillar of Shame” is now destined for indefinite storage, as announced by the HKU Council. The decision to dismantle the memorial was purportedly made following legal counsel and an evaluation of risks, all in the alleged interest of the university.

An anonymous witness disclosed to CNN that upon realizing the absence of the statue, many students could not contain their emotions and were seen shedding tears. The news of the removal prompted the sculptor, Galschiøt, to take to Twitter and call for demonstrations.

Expressing his dismay, Galschiøt exclaimed, “I’m utterly stunned by the destruction of the ‘Pillar of Shame’ at Hong Kong University. This irrational act is a sacrilege against private property rights in Hong Kong.”

He further urged individuals to visit Hong Kong University and document the events surrounding the removal of the sculpture, stating, “We have exhausted every avenue to inform the University of Hong Kong of our earnest desire to retrieve the sculpture and bring it back to Denmark.”

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