After a first sculpture was debunked on Thursday, two other works commemorating the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement were withdrawn Friday (December 24) from two universities, the institutions said.
In the morning, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) unbolted the statue The Goddess of Democracy of its campus. The establishment explained that the withdrawal of “Unauthorized statue” came after an internal evaluation, adding that the groups responsible for installing the work on campus in 2010 were no longer active.
This work by Chen Weiming, a 6-meter-high replica of the one erected by students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square in 1989, was also a symbol of the Hong Kong Democratic movement. The artist, based in the United States, expressed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) his « regrets » and his ” anger “, explaining that the university had acted “Illegal and unreasonable”.
Crackdown on Tiananmen Tributes
“They act like a thief in the night”, replied Mr. Chen, while the campuses are deserted during the Christmas holidays. “It’s the opposite of being clean and honest… They were afraid of being exposed and being kicked back by students and alumni. “ The sculptor assured that his work was on loan and that he would take legal action if it was damaged. He said he was considering seeking his removal to California, where he runs Liberty Sculpture Park.
For its part, Lingnan University has announced the withdrawal of a relief commemorating the events of Tiananmen, a work by the same artist, after having “Reviewed and assessed items on campus that may present legal and security risks to the university community”.
The day before, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) had unbolted a statue, the Pillar of shame, commemorating the bloody crackdown on June 4, 1989. Universities thus join the ongoing crackdown on tributes to the Tiananmen events which have long been a symbol of the political freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong until 2020.
The annual vigil on June 4 has been banned since 2020, officially for health and safety reasons. Several of its organizers were arrested and a museum dedicated to the suppression of the Chinese student movement in 1989 was closed. Beijing has left its authoritarian mark on the former British colony since the large and sometimes violent protests of 2019, including a draconian national security law.
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In Hong Kong, two Tiananmen commemorative sculptures withdrawn from universities