More Tiananmen massacre memorials removed in Hong Kong

The “Pillar of Shame” statue, a memorial for those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, is removed from the University of Hong Kong, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. The monument at the university that commemorated the 1989 Tiananmen massacre was boarded up by workers late Wednesday, prompting fears over the future of the monument as the city’s authorities crack down on dissent. (Lam Chun Tung/The Initium Media via AP)

HONG KONG (AP) — Universities in Hong Kong are removing memorials to the bloody suppression of the 1989 Chinese pro-democracy movement centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong early Friday took down the “Goddess of Democracy,” a statue based on a figure created by art students and brought to the square shortly before the crackdown in which hundreds, if not thousands, of people were killed.

The removal of the monuments testifies to the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to erase the bloody events from the public consciousness. It also comes as the party snuffs out democratic challenges in Hong Kong to its rule.

On Thursday, a monument at the University of Hong Kong was dismantled, wiping out one of the city’s last remaining places of public commemoration of the crackdown.

The government has never provided a figure on casualties and the pro-democracy movement remains a taboo topic in mainland China. Hong Kong and Macao, the two semi-autonomous territories, were the only places on Chinese soil where commemorations of the crackdown were allowed until authorities banned annual candlelight vigils for two consecutive years.

In a statement, Chinese University confirmed the removal of the statue and said it had never authorized its display and that no organization has claimed responsibility for its maintenance and management.

Separately, Lingnan University also removed a bas relief memorial wall display dedicated to the memory of the June 4 movement.

The university’s decision was predicated on the “overall protection of the university community after a recent assessment,” government-run Hong Kong Radio Television reported.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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