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                    Updated: 20-06-00

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We're still alive!

The Hong Kong students have written history. They have adopted the two tonnes heavy and eight metres high Pillar of Shame sculpture, created by the Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot. On a meeting attended by representatives of all the Student Unions it was recently decided that the sculpture be subsequently displayed on the campuses of all Hong Kong universities.

The Pillar of Shame will be moved to the Chinese University on 28th September, on the eve of the anniversary of the People's Republic of China 2nd October. The date has not been chosen accidentally. The Student Union find the celebration of the 'National Day' ironical, in view of the outrageous suffering incurred on the Chinese people by the old men's regime in Beijing. The Pillar of Shame precisely depicts this oppression.

Confrontation with Police

The sculpture will be moved from its present site at the University of Hong Kong. Here the students succeeded, after four hours of scuffles with the police and controversy with the leadership, to set up the Pillar on the podium of the Haking Wong Building. The students worked 12 hours setting up the sculpture with winches, pulleys, and scaffolding, as a crane could not be used on the roof of the building.

The students have managed to obtain some kind of agreement with most of the university authorities. So they hope the display of sculpture at the Chinese University and the following five universities will occur peacefully, without confrontation with police and authorities. However, taught be the experience from the University of HK, they are prepared for the worst. Each time when the Pillar comes, a large number of students will be present at the entrance of the campus, prepared for any sort of obstruction that might occur. They will also be there to show their dauntless determination to defend the freedom of expression.

Students Write History of Art

When the sculpture of Jens Galschiot was set up in Hong Kong the first time, the area was still a British colony. But now, after the handover, the sculpture is placed on the territory of the People's Republic of China as a gift to the Chinese people. From his workshop in Denmark Jens Galschiot declares:

The sculpture is set up as an overt defiance to an inhumane totalitarian regime and its fellow travellers.

This way of exhibiting a piece of art is a poignant example of art used for communication - a far cry from the intimate milieu of conventional museums and galleries. The Pillar of Shame is a piece of art staked as a catalyser for the discussion of issues essential to human community.

By their adaption of the sculpture the students have coined an unprecedented event in art history; never before people have dragged around an eight metres high and two tonnes heavy peace of art to set it up on a new site once a month, to substantiate their right to do so. The initiative of the students reveals momentous strength and courage. I'm proud that my sculpture has been chosen for the noble cause of symbolizing free speech in Hong Kong.

Background information

on the Pillar of Shame happening is available on our homepage: There you will find a chronology of the Hong Kong events and a lot of Photos.

Contact in Hong Kong:

The Student Union - The University of Hong Kong
Tel. 852 2803 7104 - Fax 852 2858 6440

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  • PILLAR OF SHAME - A Happening of Remembrance to the  version of this document  to the  version of this document  
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    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 | September 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