play_arrow

keyboard_arrow_right

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
chevron_left
volume_up
chevron_left
  • cover play_arrow

    Rother Radio (128k) Love Local, Love Music!

  • cover play_arrow

    Rother Radio (64K) Love Local, Love Music!

  • cover play_arrow

    Hit Music Radio (128K) More Music Variety!

  • cover play_arrow

    Hit Music Radio (64K) The Best Variety of Hits!

World News

‘Pillar of Shame’ statue marking Tiananmen massacre torn down

today23/12/2021

Background
share close

A monument at the University of Hong Kong which marks the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre has been removed.

Depicting a heap of anguished human torsos, the famous statue commemorated pro-democracy protesters killed during a crackdown by Chinese authorities – and stood for more than two decades.

In a statement, the Council of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) said it decided to remove it during a Wednesday meeting, “based on external legal advice and risk assessment for the best interest of the University”.

“The HKU Council has requested that the statue be put in storage, and that the University should continue to seek legal advice on any appropriate follow up action,” it said.

A memorial for those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, is removed from the University of Hong Kong
Image: Workers were seen dismantling the statue in the early hours of Thursday

What’s the history of the statue?

Known as the “Pillar of Shame”, the statue was a symbol of the wide-ranging freedoms promised to Hong Kong at its 1997 return to Chinese rule.

It was one of the few remaining public memorials in the former British colony to remember the 1989 massacre – which remains a taboo topic in China to this day.

More on China

Hong Kong traditionally holds annual vigils to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Is its removal down to China?

Hong Kong authorities have been clamping down under a China-imposed national security law that human rights activists claim is being used to suppress civil society, jail democracy campaigners and curb basic freedoms.

But authorities claim the law has restored order and stability after massive street protests in 2019, and insist freedom of speech and other rights remain intact, and that prosecutions are not political.

China has never given a full account of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, with officials providing a death toll of around 300 – however rights groups and witnesses say thousands may have been killed.

The statue is known as the 'Pillar of Shame
Image: The statue is known as the ‘Pillar of Shame’

Before it was torn down, workmen in yellow hard hats were seen entering the statue site, which had been draped on all sides with white plastic sheeting and was being guarded by dozens of security personnel.

Noises from power tools and chains could be heard from the closed-off area, and the top half of the statue was lifted by a crane towards a waiting ship container.

A truck later drove the container away on Thursday morning.

The university had previously sent a legal letter to the custodians of the statue asking for its removal, and said in its statement that no party had ever obtained approval to display the statue on its campus.

It said the university had the right to take “appropriate actions” any time and called the statue “fragile” – possibly posing “potential safety issues”.

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2021 file photo, the "Pillar of Shame" statue, a memorial for those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, is displayed at the University of Hong Kong. A monument at a Hong Kong university that commemorated the 1989 Tiananmen massacre was boarded up by workers late Wednesday, prompting fears over the future of the monument as the city...s authorities crack down on dissent. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
Image: The statue was displayed at the University of Hong Kong

Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Jens Galschiot, the Danish sculptor who created the statue, said in a statement he was “totally shocked” and that he would “claim compensation for any damage” to his private property.

Some students expressed their disappointment at the removal of the statue, with 19-year-old Chan saying: “The university is a coward to do this at midnight. I feel very disappointed, as it’s a symbol of history.”

Another said he was “heartbroken” to see the statue “being cut into pieces”.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News


Previous post

Local News

Sheffield woman’s ‘panic attacks’ turn out to be massive brain tumour

A woman from Sheffield was diagnosed with a large brain tumour after she was misdiagnosed as suffering from panic attacks. Catherine Wilcockson, from Handsworth, first realised that something was wrong when she went to see her daughter's Christmas play in December 2018. The 38-year-old had finished work early to secure a front row seat and, during her daughter's performance, Catherine "went all funny" and forgot where she was. For more […]

today23/12/2021