The old cannot kill the young forever
Freedom of Expression in Hong Kong
severely tried by Pillar of Shame

 NA01143A.gif (987 bytes) Pictures of the Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong no-frames.JPG (4677 bytes)
Updated: 20-06-00

On 4th June an eight-metre high original sculpture titled the Pillar of Shame will be set up in Hong Kong. The sculpture has been created by the Danish Sculptor Jens Galschiot and is composed of more than 50 painfully twisted human bodies. It will be set up in cooperation with the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic and Democratic Movements in China.

A Gift to the Chines People
The Scuipture is a gift to the Chinese people in support of the human rights issue in China. Some day, when the circumstances make it possible, the sculpture might be moved to Beijing.
The Pillar of Shame is the core of a world wide art happening that Jens Galsehiot will be carrying out over the next ten years. Once or twice a year, a Pillar of Shame will be mounted around the world as a memorial of severe infringements against humanity. The mounting in Hong Kong is marking the international debut of the happening.

50,000 Lights for Tiananmen
The Pillar of Shame will be displayed 4th June in Victoria Park where more than 50,000 people will be gathered for a solemn Candlelight Vigil in commemoration of the Tiananmen massacre in '89. The sculpture will be set up in the very midst of the ceremony. Throughout the day thousands of people will come to the park laying flowers. One can hardly imagine a more impressive inauguration of an art happening.

Uncertain Fate
Set up a few weeks before the handover to China the Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. In this regard many feel rather uneasy. Maybe this year's Candlelight Vigil will be the last one in foreseeable future. Also the fate of the Pillar of Shame, as a symbol of the event, is uncertain. Perhaps the new authorities will brush it away or even destroy it.

Immortal Symbolisin
However, Jens Galschiot does not lose any sleep over these prospects. The assault on the sculpture would just display the contempt of the authorities for the human rights and the freedom of expression in Hong Kong. Even the destruction of the sculpture cannot rub out the symbolic value of the Pillar of Shame, no more than the ruthless oppression has been capable of choking the spirit of Tiananmen. Inevitably, the site where the first Pillar of Shame was set up will be saturated with a symbolic value that will be reinforced by the following sculptures placed around the world.

The Chinese Pillar of Shame

Go to the news-release frontpage

Relevant documents
  • PILLAR OF SHAME - A Happening of Remembrance to the  version of this document  to the  version of this document  
  • Level Up

    1997: The Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong
    Additional Information:
    Categories: 1997: The Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong | Happenings and Art Installations | 1996-?: The Pillar of Shame | Activities related to China
    Themes: Criticism of governments | Free speech | Massacres | Schools involved
    Sculptures: Pillar of Shame
    Type: Press releases
    Dates: 1997 | 10th May 1997 | 4th June 1997
    Locations: Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China | Baptist University, Hong Kong, China | Chinese University, Hong Kong, China | Haking Wong podium at the Hong Kong University, Hong Kong, China | Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong, China | Lingnan College, Hong Kong, China | Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China | University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China | Victoria Park, Hong Kong, China
    Co-operators and Helpers: Anne Lund | Art critics association, Mr Lau Kin Wai | Blue Water, forwarding agent | Cheung Man-kwong, a core member of the Hong Kong Democracy Movement | Chui Way-hang, student leader | Emely Lau, Urban Council | Erling Hoh | Georg Zoega | Hong Kong Christian Institute | Ip Kwok-chung, councillor | Jun Feng | Lasse Markus | Lene Jelling | Linda Wong Shui Hung, Students’ union, HK University | Martin Lee, MP Hong Kong | Niller Madsen | Patrick Wong Chun Sing, Students’ union, HK University | Robert Etches | Stanley Wing-Fai Ng | Students’ union, Hong Kong University
    Partners: Albert Ho | Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democracy in China | Ocean Fung | Szeto Wah
    Related Persons and Entities: Chinese Government | Chris Patten, last British governor of Hong Kong | HK police | Hong Kong Arts Centre, Oscar Ho | Hong Kong University Social Science Institute | M+R (Metzger + Richner), forwarding agent | Recreation Committee in Hong Kong | Regional Council (in the New Territories) | SAR government | Tung Chee-hwa, HK head of government after 1st July 1997 | Urban Council Hong Kong | Urban Council, Select Committee | Xinhua (New China News Agency)
    Sponsors: BUPL | DeTrey Dentsply AG, Schweiz | Fredsfonden | Funch Fonden | Gelsted/Kirk/Scherfig fonden | Kultursekretariatet i Odense Kommune | Lysgaard Fonden | Socialpædagogernes Landsforbund / National Federation of Social Educators | Socialpædagogernes Landsforbund i Vejle | Vedstaarup Lerfabrik A/S