Edmonton Journal

DO NOT DESTROY STATUE, ARTIST WARNS UNIVERSITY

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The Danish sculptor of a Hong Kong statue commemorat­ing pro-democracy protesters killed in Tiananmen Square has warned authoritie­s not to destroy or damage the memorial amid pressure from China to have it torn down.

The future of the statue — one of the few remaining public symbols of the Tiananmen incident — was thrown into doubt when the University of Hong Kong, where it stands, said it may fall foul of China's curbs on free speech.

It was due to be torn down Wednesday but for a last-minute legal interventi­on by its creator Jens Galschiot, who instructed lawyers to have it moved to Denmark. In a warning to the university, he said: “I consider any damage to the sculpture to be the responsibi­lity of the university.”

Galschiot loaned the 26-foothigh, two-tonne copper sculpture called Pillar of Shame to a local civil society group, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, in perpetuity.

But the group disbanded this year under pressure from wider Chinese repression that has all but banned political dissent through a sweeping national security law.

The sculpture has been on display at the university for more than two decades. The Tiananmen subject is a taboo topic in mainland China, where it cannot be publicly commemorat­ed.

 ?? TYRONE SIU / REUTERS ?? The Pillar of Shame by Danish artist Jens Galschiot pays tribute to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. The sculpture at Hong Kong University was set to be torn down, but Galschiot asked for it to be moved to Denmark.
TYRONE SIU / REUTERS The Pillar of Shame by Danish artist Jens Galschiot pays tribute to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. The sculpture at Hong Kong University was set to be torn down, but Galschiot asked for it to be moved to Denmark.

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