Two Hong Kong universities on Friday removed memorials to the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen protest in Beijing. On Thursday, another university had already taken away an image.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on Friday morning removed the “Goddess of Democracy” statue from its campus in front of the pro-democracy Tiananmen protest in Beijing in 1989. The CUHK explained that removing the “disallowed statue” comes after an internal review. The university added that the groups responsible for installing the statue in 2010 are no longer active.
The statue, by the artist Chen Weiming, a six-meter-high replica of the statue the protesting students themselves made in Tiananmen Square in 1989, was a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. The artist, based in the United States, expressed his “regret” and “anger” in a response. He said the university was acting “illegally and unreasonably”.
“They work like a thief in the night,” Chen said, as the campuses are deserted over the Christmas holidays. “It’s not very fair. They were afraid of the reaction of students and former students.”
The sculptor also said his statue was on loan. He would go to court for compensation. He is also considering sending the statue back to California, where he heads the Liberty Sculpture Park.
Lingnan University, for its part, also said it had removed a wall relief depicting the Tiananmen protest. “We investigated and evaluated elements on campus that could pose legal and security risks to the university community,” it said.
The day before, a well-known monument to the uprising victims in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square had been removed from the University of Hong Kong. The Pillar of shame had been in college for 24 years.
The universities in Hong Kong are also joining in suppressing the Tiananmen commemorations in China. Until 2020, those commemorations symbolized the political freedoms Hong Kong enjoyed. But the British ex-colony is increasingly under the authoritarian control of Beijing.