Creator contacts HKU over removal of Pillar of Shame on deadline day

Local | 13 Oct 2021 3:21 pm

The creator of Pillar of Shame, a sculpture in memory of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, has contacted the University of Hong Kong to follow up on the removal issue.

A lawyer representing the university earlier sent a letter to the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and asked them to remove the seven-meter statue from the campus by 5pm today (Wednesday).

The Danish creator Jens Galschiot said he has appointed a lawyer in Hong Kong, who then sent a letter to the university and requested a hearing on Tuesday morning.

Galschiot hoped the school would respect his ownership over the statue so that he could transfer the sculpture to somewhere else in one piece. He also stressed that the university would have to bear compensation on possible damage to the statue that take place during the transfer.

The sculptor said the process of finding a suitable lawyer to represent him is ridiculous, and noted that Albert Ho Chun-yan, who used to represent him, is now in jail.

Galschiot only found out that the school had demanded the alliance to remove the statue when media contacted him. He said he had been in the dark the whole time.

The artist branded the order as a new means to obscure the crackdown’s memories, as authorities had only banned books and outlawed outspoken dissidents before. Galschiot hoped international art institutions could do something about the statue’s removal.

The alliance’s liquidator Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong respected the fact that it rightfully belonged to Galschiot. He said it would be best that the school contacts Galschiot directly.

Tsoi earlier pointed out that it was unreasonable for the university to order the alliance to remove the statue in such short time, and the university, as a space for freedom of speech and academia, had the social responsibility and mission to preserve the statue.

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