Tiananmen Square massacre monument removed overnight

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Dec. 22 (UPI) — A monument mourning those killed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square massacre was removed late Wednesday night by the University of Hong Kong.

Floor-to-ceiling sheets and barriers surrounded the area that night and by 1 a.m. local time Thursday, the 26-foot statue was gone.

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Jens Galschiot’s Pillar of Shame had stood on the campus for more than 20 years, but in October, university authorities decided to remove the statue as Beijing cracks down on those commemorating the 1989 massacre.

Galschiot said that the statue is private property and that he would claim compensation for the damages caused.

“[I]t is a disgrace and an abuse and shows that Hong Kong has become a brutal place without laws and regulations such as protecting the population, the arts and private property,” he said, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

“And it’s even more grotesque that they use the Western holiday, Christmas, to carry out the destruction of the artwork,” he added.

Students at the university are on break.

The university has demanded that the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China — which normally organizes a candlelight vigil commemorating the massacre — remove the donated statue within five days.