‘Pillar of Shame’ Tiananmen Memorial Rises Around the World After Hong Kong Communists Tear It Down

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Kin Cheung/AP; Liselotte Sabroe, Anthony Kwan, Andreas Solaro, Louise Delmotte, Alex Chan/Getty Images

The Pillar of Shame, a haunting memorial to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, stood proudly in Hong Kong for over twenty years until Communist goons finally managed to tear it down last December.

The original statue has been buried in storage by the Chinese Communists, who are desperately trying to erase the Tiananmen massacre from history, but replicas are rising around the world with the blessing of the artist.

The original Pillar of Shame is a 26-foot sculpture created by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, who said he was “shocked” when his work was placed under heavy guard at the University of Hong Kong, concealed under tarps, and demolished in December 2021. 

HONG KONG, CHINA - 2021/12/23: The lower-half of the statue was hanged by the crane and ready to be moved inside the container for transportation. Authorities in Hong Kong tore down a public sculpture dedicated to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, accelerating a campaign to erase the crackdown from public recollection and stamp out dissent in a city that until recently was one of Asias freest. The 26-foot-tall artwork, known as the Pillar of Shame, had stood at the University of Hong Kong for nearly a quarter-century and honored the hundreds, if not thousands, of students and others killed on June 4, 1989, when the Chinese military crushed pro-democracy protests. (Photo by Alex Chan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Authorities in Hong Kong tore down the 26-foot-tall Pillar of Shame. It had stood at the University of Hong Kong for nearly a quarter-century (Alex Chan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The university implied that it was eliminating the statue because it feared prosecution under the tyrannical “national security law” Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 to crush the pro-democracy movement.

HONG KONG, CHINA - JUNE 04: University students gather to clean the Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot, to remember the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing, at the University of Hong Kong on June 4, 2021 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong activists planned private vigils and religious services to commemorate China's deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, as a prominent organizer was arrested and thousands of police were deployed to prevent any mass protests. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

University students gather to clean the Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot, to remember the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing, at the University of Hong Kong on June 4, 2021. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

HONG KONG, CHINA - JUNE 04: University students clean the Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot, to remember the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing, at the University of Hong Kong on June 4, 2021 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong activists planned private vigils and religious services to commemorate China's deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, as a prominent organizer was arrested and thousands of police were deployed to prevent any mass protests. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

University students clean the Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot, to remember the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing, at the University of Hong Kong on June 4, 2021. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The “Pillar of Shame” statue stands at the Hong Kong University campus on October 15, 2021 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Louise Delmotte/Getty Images)

HONG KONG, CHINA - 2021/10/11: Close-up view of the "Pillar of Shame" before its removal. The "Pillar of Shame", an artwork by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt, is a tribute to the victims of the Tiananmen massacre that occurred on June 4th, 1989 in Beijing, China. Although the sculpture has been at the campus since 1997, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has demanded that it should be removed before October 14th, 2021. (Photo by Charlène Flores/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Close-up view of the “Pillar of Shame” before its removal. The “Pillar of Shame”, an artwork by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt, is a tribute to the victims of the Tiananmen massacre that occurred on June 4th, 1989 in Beijing, China. (Charlène Flores/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“This is my sculpture, and it is my property,” Galschiot said at the time. “I’ve asked Hong Kong University to allow me to go and collect it in person, but I received no response. If they destroy my work, I’ll seek compensation and demand the remaining pieces to be returned to Europe.”

FILE - In this June 3, 1997, file photo, Danish artist Jens Galschiot, right, supervises erection of the "Pillar of Shame," a bronze statue to mark the military crackdown of a pro-democracy student movement in Beijing in June, 1989, at Hong Kong's Victoria Park. Galschioet is seeking to get back his sculpture in Hong Kong memorializing the victims of China's 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown as a deadline loomed for its removal Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

In this June 3, 1997, file photo, Danish artist Jens Galschiot, right, supervises erection of the “Pillar of Shame,” a bronze statue to mark the military crackdown of a pro-democracy student movement in Beijing in June, 1989, at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

Galschiot compared the Communist demolition of his work to “going to a graveyard and destroying all the gravestones” – which is, incidentally, something the callous regime in Beijing has no compunctions about doing.

“The Pillar of Shame has stood at one of the best and finest universities in Hong Kong and has been a guarantor of a free and open-minded teaching. With the dismantling of the sculpture, the university world in Hong Kong has capitulated – without spiritual freedom, a university is only the shadow of itself,” he mournfully observed.

Galschiot said last week he is still attempting to recover the Pillar of Shame from Hong Kong, but meanwhile he has authorized copies of the statue across the world and assisted with creating some of them. He asks parties interested in raising their own Pillars of Shame to donate proceeds from the work to the Hong Kong democracy movement. 

Danish artist Jens Galschiot (L) works in front of the Danish Parliament Folketinget at Christiansborg Palace Square in Copenhagen, where he erected an 8-meter-high Pillar of Shame in solidarity with the protesters in Hong Kong on January 23, 2020. (Photo by Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT (Photo by LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Danish artist Jens Galschiot (L) works in front of the Danish Parliament Folketinget at Christiansborg Palace Square in Copenhagen, where he erected an 8-meter-high Pillar of Shame in solidarity with the protesters in Hong Kong on January 23, 2020. (LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s not possible to kill a symbol. You can only make it stronger,” Galschiot said when unveiling a full-sized replica of the Pillar of Shame at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Another, smaller copy already stands in Budapest and a copy in Prague is almost ready to debut. Galschiot said he wants to put one in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C.

“The message is to show the world that we’re still talking about Hong Kong, we won’t forget Hong Kong and we won’t forget what China is doing in Hong Kong,” he said.

A group called Lady Liberty Hong Kong used photos of the original statue to create a 3D model that can be downloaded to create real or virtual replicas. 

“The Pillar of Shame is a symbol of the freedom of speech that we had growing up in Hong Kong, and to remove it is a manifestation of what Hong Kong is becoming,” said one of the digital artists who created the 3D model.

A roughly half-sized Pillar of Shame will be unveiled in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei on Saturday at a vigil marking the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. The statue was funded by the New School for Democracy (NSD), an organization founded during the Tiananmen Square anniversary in 2011 to promote democracy in Chinese societies.

People chant slogans next to a "Pillar of Shame" during a vigil on the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and crackdown, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on June 4, 2022. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

People chant slogans next to a “Pillar of Shame” during a vigil on the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and crackdown, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on June 4, 2022. (SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

A child walks among the numbers "8964" during a vigil on the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and crackdown, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on June 4, 2022. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

A child walks among the numbers “8964” during a vigil on the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests and crackdown, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on June 4, 2022. (SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

NSD Chairman Tseng Chien-yuan noted that since the famous vigil in Hong Kong has been ruthlessly suppressed by the Communist-controlled island government, Taipei now hosts the largest Tiananmen remembrance in the Chinese-speaking world.

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