Tiananmen Massacre Monument removed from Hong Kong University

Workers carried parts of the “Shame Support” statue, which was removed from the University of Hong Kong on Wednesday night. The monument commemorates the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989. Photo Lam Chun Tung / The Initium Media via AP / NTB

By NTB | 23.12.2021 00:53:56

Culture and entertainment: «Support of shame», as the monument is called, created by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt.

It shows 50 intertwined bodies and symbolizes all those who lost their lives when Chinese authorities deployed soldiers against peaceful protesters on June 4, 1989.

This monument has stood at the University of Hong Kong since 1997, when the territory was handed over from Britain to China.

In October, university management demanded the monument be removed, to protests from human rights activists and others.

– The decision regarding the obsolete statue was based on external legal advice and in the interests of the university, a statement said.

The monument was dismantled before being moved. A reporter for the AFP news agency on the spot stated that drilling and metallic sounds were heard.

Security guards also prevented journalists from approaching the monument and tried to stop photographers from filming.

The monument had apparently been placed in a container that was transported to the site. The university said they had requested that the monument be placed in storage and they would continue to seek legal advice on next steps.

The memorial is commemorated every year, but in 2020 and 2021 authorities banned it citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong authorities have cracked down on the democracy movement in the territory after the national security law came into effect. China introduced the law last year, following months of massive demonstrations of democracy in Hong Kong in 2019.

A large number of opposition figures have been imprisoned or fled abroad. Authorities are also trying to write about history and make the city more “patriotic”.

He was one of those who led protests in the Chinese capital more than 30 years ago. When the government had beaten the protesters with the help of the military, he was imprisoned. He now lives in the United States.

Former Hong Kong pro-democracy politician Nathan Law fled to Britain in 2020. He said the statue will remain in the city’s memory.

– «Shame support» has been removed, but the memory lives on. We must remember what happened on June 4, 1989, the Tiananmen massacre, he wrote on Twitter.

He told AFP it was “weird” and “surprising” that the university did something about the statue, which he considers to be his private property.

– This is a very expensive statue. So if they destroy it, we will certainly sue them. That’s not true, said Galschiøt.

The Dane said the university had not contacted him or informed him that anything would happen to the monument.

Wednesday night, workers covered the monument with plates, while security guards watched. The university later confirmed that it had been removed.

Hong Kong has become the only place in China where the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre can be remembered.

“They have committed this despicable act in an attempt to erase this bloody chapter from history,” Wang Dan wrote on Facebook.

Artist Galschiøt offered to take the monument to Denmark, in exchange for immunity from a controversial security law introduced by Chinese authorities in Hong Kong.