Two Hong Kong universities removed sculptures commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing on Friday, a day after the oldest academic institution in the city did the same.
This former British colony, with a semi-autonomous regime since the return to China in 1997, was the the only place in the country where the memory of the repression against students that occurred in 1989 was still tolerated.
But after the massive and often violent pro-democracy protests in this city, the authorities have repressed the acts of commemoration and the activists who watched over the commemoration of that massacre of the Chinese army.
Thursday, the University of Hong Kong (UHK), the oldest in the city, removed the so-called Pillar of Shame from its campus, an eight meter high sculpture in which they are represented 50 anguished faces and lacerated bodies piled on top of each other in tribute to the deceased protesters.
This Friday, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) removed from its campus another statue called “Goddess of Democracy” by Chen Weiming, a replica of the giant sculpture that students erected in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The CUHK explained that it removed the statue because “It was not authorized”, after an internal evaluation, and added that those responsible for having installed it in 2010 are no longer in office.
“A thief in the night”
American-based artist Chen Weiming accused CUHK executives of act “like a thief at night” taking advantage of the fact that university campuses are empty for the Christmas holidays.
“It is the opposite of being clean and honest. They are afraid of being exposed and backfired in front of students and former students, ”Chen Weiming said.
“This indicates that they were very afraid that the removal of the monuments would provoke a public outcryHence, they did something so murky overnight. It’s a big pity. I am concerned to know if the monuments are damaged and where they are currently placed, “he added.
The artist claimed that his work was a loan and that she will go to court if she is harmed.
He also announced that he plans to order his shipment to California, where he runs the Liberty Sculpture Park.
On the other hand, Hong Kong’s Lingnan University removed another sculpture in memory of the massacre, work by the same artist.
Lingnan University indicated that the work could involve “Legal and security risks” for the university community.
The sculpture was separated into several pieces and is now stored in a campus building, according to Eric Tong, Chairman of the 54th Ad Hoc Administrative Committee of Lingnan University.
This 23-year-old, who studies political science, told the media on Friday Hong Kong Free Press what lThe university did not inform the students of the removal of the monument. The student representatives ask for “legitimate” explanations from the university administration about the reasons for the removal of the sculpture.
“The student union deeply regrets the unilateral decision of the university to remove the monument, without any communication with the students. Also cWe strongly condemn the measure of the university to erase the historical symbol”, They expressed.
Beijing and local Hong Kong authorities try to reshape the city in the image of the authoritarian Chinese regime, cracking down on dissent and persecuting opponents.
Commemorating the events of Tiananmen has de facto become something Illegal and candlelight vigils held every June 4 have been banned for the past two years.
(With information from AFP)
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