Tiananmen statue creator slams 'mafia' tactics by Hong Kong university

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HONG KONG, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The Danish sculptor of a statue that commemorates pro-democracy protesters killed during China's Tiananmen Square crackdown successful 1989 has accused a starring Hong Kong assemblage of "mafia" benignant tactics implicit its bid to person it removed.

Jens Galschiot loaned the eight-metre high, two-tonne copper sculpture called "Pillar of Shame" implicit 2 decades agone to a section civilian nine group, the Hong Kong Alliance successful Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements successful China, successful perpetuity.

After the radical disbanded past period with immoderate members accused of nationalist information offences, the University of Hong Kong sent a missive to the confederation past week requesting it region the statue from the field by 5 p.m. (0900 GMT) connected Wednesday.

"These radical are successful jail. And they accidental wrong 4 days you should instrumentality it down," Galschiot told Reuters via Zoom, referring to immoderate of the group's members who are successful situation implicit anti-government protests successful 2019.

"So I deliberation this is simply a warning, that we privation to destruct this sculpture if you don’t propulsion it down. So this is simply a benignant of mafia. I americium truly shocked."

The University of Hong Kong did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.

The sculpture has been connected show astatine the assemblage for implicit 2 decades, and is 1 of the fewer remaining nationalist symbols of the bloody crackdown that is simply a taboo taxable successful mainland China wherever it cannot beryllium publically commemorated.

The statue, which Galschiot estimates is worthy astir 1.2 cardinal euros ($1.4 million), depicts dozens of torn and twisted bodies that symbolise those killed successful and astir Beijing's Tiananmen Square much than 30 years ago.

China has ne'er provided a afloat relationship of the 1989 crackdown. The decease toll fixed by officials days aboriginal was astir 300, astir of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses accidental thousands of radical whitethorn person been killed.

Galschiot said helium had contacted the assemblage to explicate that helium is the proprietor of the statue and to connection to assistance with what helium described arsenic a "complicated operation" to determination it.

"This is my property, truthful if they destruct it, past we volition instrumentality action. I deliberation determination is inactive immoderate ineligible strategy successful spot successful Hong Kong to support backstage property,” helium said.

The statue was inactive successful the assemblage field by the clip the deadline for its removal passed connected Wednesday, with astir of the planetary fiscal centre closed owed to a typhoon.

($1 = 0.8657 euros)

Reporting By Aleksander Solum; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by James Pomfret and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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