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China dismantles 'Pillar of Shame' statue on Hong Kong varsity campus

HONG KONG, Dec 24: The over two-decade old, 26-foot tall 'Pillar of Shame' statue, a memorial to the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, atop a podium on the campus of the University of Hong Kong, was dismantled and removed on Thursday night.

The iconic statue was one of the last remaining memorials to the victims left as the Chinese had been destroying them.

A pro-democracy movement by college students was crushed by the Chinese military in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 leading to a massacre of thousands of people.

There is widespread fear of retribution and suppression among the people especially after the imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, a former British colony, in 2020.

The statue was erected in the Haking Wong Building of the university. It was a work of Danish artist Jens Galschiot in 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China after more than 150 years of British rule. The inscription on the statue is: "The old cannot kill the young forever." There is a description of the sculpture on Galschiot's website. He told CNN that he hopes to bring the statue back to Denmark so he can reassemble it.

He said in a statement he was “totally shocked” and that he would “claim compensation for any damage” to his private property.

Later two more Tiananmen Square crackdown memorials were also removed from Hong Kong campuses - at the Chinese Univesity of Hong Kong (CUHK) (Chen’s Goddess of Democracy sculpture) and at the Lingnan University.

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