Hong Kong universities cleansed of Tiananmen Square massacre memorials

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The Goddess of Democracy before its removal at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec26’21) – Monuments commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre of Jun 1989 have been removed from Hong Kong university campuses one after another in recent days. They have been seen as running afoul of the draconian national security law for Hong Kong that was passed by China last year. The sweeping law criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to in effect wipe out dissent and criticism of China’s leadership, like in the mainland.

Hong Kong University was the first to do so, removing a famous statue marking the massacre of students in Beijing in 1989. Its Goddess of Democracy statue was modelled after the original statue erected by Chinese students in 1989 and paraded in Tiananmen Square just before the massacre.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was the next. It tore down a 6.4 meter bronze replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue used by students calling for democracy and the rule of law on Tiananmen Square in the spring and early summer of 1989, noted the rfa.org Dec 24.

And the Lingnan University removed or painted over two public art works commemorating the victims of the massacre.

Like HKU on Dec 23, the CUHK authorities have said it had never given permission for the statue to be displayed on campus, and that it was placed there by two now-disbanded organizations.

Students and alumni at CUHK responded by leaving mourning offerings of white flowers and candles where the statue once stood, playing a cover of the protest-related song “Bloodstained Glory” by Cantopop diva Anita Mui, the report said.

Workers removed the sculpture from the University of Hong Kong’s campus under the cover of night. (Photo courtesy: AP)

And the Lingnan University has said it had recently “reviewed and assessed items on campus that may pose legal and safety risks” and had “removed [these]…. in the best interest of the University”.

The bbc.com report noted that a spray painting of what appeared to be the Goddess of Democracy was also painted over at the Lingnan University.

The rfa.org report said the removal of public memorials to the Tiananmen massacre came amid a citywide crackdown on public dissent and political opposition under a draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from Jul 1, 2020.

The law has led to the fleeing or jailing of democracy activists, closing down of organizations advocating wide range of public causes, and the adoption of a “patriots only” election system for Hong Kong.

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