DO NOT DESTROY STATUE, ARTIST WARNS UNIVERSITY
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.