A scaled-down replica of the Pillar of Shame statue honoring the people who were killed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing in 1989 is to be unveiled at a commemorative vigil in Taipei on Saturday, said the New School for Democracy, the event’s main organizer.
The focal point of the vigil on Democracy Boulevard at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is to be the unveiling of a replica of the statue that was previously at the University of Hong Kong, New School for Democracy chairman Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元) told a news conference on Monday.
The organization has been raising funds for a copy of the 8m sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot and the donations were enough for a 3m replica, Tseng said.
Galschiot has created a series of works entitled Pillar of Shame.
One of them, which commemorates the pro-democracy protesters killed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 3 and 4, 1989, had stood at the University of Hong Kong for two decades until the Hong Kong authorities ordered its demolition in December last year.
Galschiot was later reported to have relinquished the reproduction rights to the sculpture, enabling anyone to make a copy of it provided that all proceeds are given to efforts supporting Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
The Taipei-based New School for Democracy acquired permission from the Danish artist to produce a replica using 3D printing technology.
The reimagining of the statue in Taipei is a testament to the continued efforts to remember the Chinese government’s violent crackdown against democracy advocates 33 years ago in Beijing, Tseng said.
With Hong Kong not holding a vigil this year, Taiwan would be the only place in the Chinese-speaking world to hold such an event to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, he said.
Since 1990, democracy advocates held a large-scale vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on June 4 each year to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
However, Hong Kong authorities banned the event in 2020, citing COVID-19 concerns, and have reportedly declined to allow Victoria Park to be rented to the public on June 4 since then.
In addition to the vigil in Taiwan, several activities featuring what Tseng described as “Hong Kong elements” are to be held on Saturday at the same venue, including a screening hosted by Amnesty International Taiwan of the Hong Kong movie May You Stay Forever Young at 2pm.
The New School for Democracy yesterday opened an exhibition at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall that touches upon major political upheavals in Hong Kong in the past few years, including the “Umbrella movement” in 2014, protests in 2019 against a since-scrapped extradition law and the imposition of the National Security Law in 2020.
The exhibition, which is to run until June 12, features installations and other artistic works, including by Australia-based Chinese caricaturist Badiucao (巴丟草) and Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong (黃國才), who now lives in Taiwan.
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