‘Pillar of Shame’: Where is the memorial located?

Oldest university of Hong Kong launched an overnight operation on December 23, 2021 to dismantle a statue that commemorates people killed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in latest blow to academic freedoms.

Pillar of Shame

  • “Pillar of Shame” are a series of 8-metre (26-feet) high statues, constructed by Jens Galschiot.
  • It is constructed on the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) campus since 1997. In the same year, former British Colony, Hong Kong was handed back to China.
  • The statue features 50 anguished faces and tortured bodies. These bodies have been piled on one another.
  • It commemorates democracy protesters, who were killed by Chinese troops in 1989 at Tiananmen Square.
  • Each of the statue are of bronze, copper or concrete.

When and where was the sculpture inaugurated?

  • In 1996, the sculpture was inaugurated at the NGO Forum of FAO summit in Rome.
  • Since then, three more pillars have been erected, in Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil.
  • Fifth statue was planned to be erected in Berlin in 2002. However, the plan has not successful, due to various issues.

Remoulding of Hong Kong

Currently, China is remoulding Hong Kong in its own authoritarian image following democracy protests two years ago. Thus, commemorating Tiananmen has become illegal, effectively. In October 2021, University’s officials ordered to remove the sculpture, highlighting new legal risks.

Dismantling operation

On December 23, University staff confirmed that statue had been removed in an overnight operation. It has been placed in storage after completing the operation.

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