Pillar of Shame: Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square statue removedon December 22, 2021 at 9:55 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Workers at the University of Hong Kong dismantle the sculpture commemorating the 1989 massacre.

Construction workers remove the statue

Image source, Reuters

A famous statue at the University of Hong Kong commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre has been removed.

Construction workers worked overnight behind plastic barriers to dismantle the 8m (26ft) copper statue.

The statue, called the Pillar of Shame, shows piled-up corpses to commemorate pro-democracy protesters killed by Chinese authorities in 1989.

The university ordered its removal in October, “based on the latest risk assessment and legal advice”.

The artwork – which features dozens of twisted bodies and anguished faces – was one of Hong Kong’s few remaining public memorials to the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing.

China forbids any public recognition of the massacre. Beijing has recently moved to silence opposition to its rule in Hong Kong.

The Pillar of Shame, by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, has been on display at the university’s campus for 24 years.

Mr Galschiot said removing the statue was “really brutal” and likened it to the destruction of gravestones.

The Pillar of Shame statue

Image source, Getty Images

“This is a sculpture about dead people and [to] remember the dead people in Beijing in ’89. So when you destroy that in this way then it’s like going to a graveyard and destroying all the gravestones,” he told the BBC’s Newshour programme.

Mr Galschiot said he would consider suing the authorities and demand compensation.

Late on Wednesday night, university officials fenced off the area around the statue with plastic sheeting.

Reuters said dozens of workmen in yellow hard hats entered the site. A crane stood nearby and construction noises could be heard.

Security guards blocked reporters from approaching and tried to stop them from filming.

The university did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators were killed by Chinese troops in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in the summer of 1989.

Tiananmen is still a heavily censored topic in modern China. The anniversary was marked annually in Hong Kong until it was banned by authorities in 2020, citing Covid measures.

In October, nine pro-democracy activists were sentenced to between six and 10 months in prison for taking part in the banned 2020 vigil.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

- Advertisement -

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

Can a solar-power fridge get more people vaccinated?on January 5, 2022 at 12:00 am

A fridge designed for areas with no electricity is now helping dispense Covid vaccines in Kenya.

Arsenal 4-2 Leeds: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hits hat-trick in Gunners winon February 14, 2021 at 7:03 pm

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores a superb hat-trick as Arsenal hit four past Leeds at the Emirates in the Premier League.By Josef RindlBBC SportAubameyang opened the...

Budget 2021: Duty cut on sparkling wine, draught beer and cideron October 27, 2021 at 1:34 pm

A shake-up of alcohol duty is announced by the chancellor, with higher taxes for stronger drinks.

ICYMI: A baby rhino and million dollar trainerson October 31, 2021 at 11:51 am

A roundup of stories you might have missed this week, including a hoverbike and million dollar trainers.

Belarus threatens EU gas as bloc considers sanctionson November 11, 2021 at 2:52 pm

The EU is reportedly preparing fresh sanctions over an escalating migrant crisis at Belarus's border.Image source, ReutersBelarus's leader has threatened to cut-off gas supplies...