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Hong Kong removes ‘Pillar of Shame’ statue amid collapse


Hong Kong authorities on Thursday removed a statue commemorating those killed in the 1989 government massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, the latest crackdown on dissidents. political consensus on Chinese territory.

The 26-foot-tall bronze statue, known as the “Pillar of Shame”, was created by the Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot in 1996 and shows a pile of naked corpses arranged into what looks like a gruesome memorial. It celebrates June 4, 1989, massacre of pro-democracy students and workers around Tiananmen Square by the Chinese government.

The Tiananmen Massacre is among the most delicate topics in Chinese politics and has been largely erased from history on mainland China. But for more than two decades, Mr. Galschiot’s statue has been a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in a territory that enjoys freedoms unimaginable on the mainland.

For years, students would gather to wash the statue in a ceremony. And amid the flames and fury of the pro-democracy protests that engulfed the territory in 2019, the statue has formed part of a backdrop of protesters. Build barricades with the police.

The removal of the statue early Thursday was part of a crackdown that Beijing has used extensively. national security law that it imposed on Hong Kong last year to prosecuting activists and restore civil liberties.

In July, a Hong Kong court convict a protester terrorism and incitement to separatism. And in September, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of China’s Patriotic Democratic Movements, the activist group that helped bring the “Pillar of Shame” to the territory in 1997, was forced to remove its online presence.

As workers removed the statue before dawn, journalists at the scene reported that the police had blocked from the area.

Mr. Galschiot, the creator of the statue, had previously tried in vain to ask for permission to remove it himself – along with assurances that he would not be prosecuted under security law if he went to Hong Kong to do so – after the university requested it be taken away.

On Thursday, he followed real-time on social media as the statue was removed, expressing his distrust.





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