The first Pillar of Shame was set up in Hong Kong on 4th June 1997 to denounce the crackdown of the democracy movement 1989 in Beijing.
Setting up the Pillar ahead of the hand-over on 1st July, was a way of placing the sculpture on Chinese territory. Expressing an overt accusation of the old menís regime in Beijing, it functions as a litmus test of the authoritiesí vow to respect human rights and free speech in Hong Kong.
On 30th April 2008 the Pillar was painted orange by Chinese democracy activists. The event was carried out in connection with the world wide Color Orange campaign launched by Jens Galschiot to denounce Chinaís human rights violations on the occasion of the Olympic Games August 2008.
Galschiot and his staff had come to Hong Kong to join the event but they were denied entrance by the migration authorities.