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3 Hong Kong universities remove Tiananmen Square monuments

Hong Kong's National Security Law: One year later
One year since National Security Law was imposed on Hong Kong 01:16

Following the removal of the Pillar of Shame at the University of Hong Kong late Wednesday, two more Hong Kong universities have removed public monuments to the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. Government officials have been quelling dissent in Hong Kong ever since Beijing imposed a national security law on the semi-autonomous city last year.

The lower-half of the statue was hanged by the crane and
The lower-half of the statue was hanged by the crane and ready to be moved inside the container for transportation. Authorities in Hong Kong tore down a public sculpture dedicated to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, accelerating a campaign to erase the crackdown from public recollection and stamp out dissent in a city that until recently was one of Asias freest. Alex Chan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Friday, the Chinese University of Hong Kong removed a 20-foot bronze statue titled "Goddess of Democracy."

In a statement, CUHK said it removed the "unauthorised statue" because it never approved its installation back in 2010. The university also said no organization had claimed responsibility for its maintenance and management since then.

"Two concerned parties were initially involved in moving the statue on campus," the university said in a press release. "The 'Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China' was recently dissolved, and the Chinese University Student Union is effectively dysfunctional."

Meanwhile, Lingnan University also said it took down a Tiananmen Massacre wall relief, citing "legal and safety risks to the university community."

Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong after pro-democracy protests broke out there in 2019. As a result, authorities have been cracking down on demonstrations and arresting more than 100 activists. Others have fled overseas.

Chen Weiming, who created both the Goddess of Democracy statue and the Tiananmen Massacre relief, told the Hong Kong Free Press that the universities removed them overnight because they were afraid of public backlash. He is waiting to see if legal actions will be taken.

"I am concerned about whether the monuments are damaged and where they are placed currently," Weiming told the outlet.

This photograph taken on November 14, 2020, shows people looking at at the "Goddess of Democracy" statue in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, seen draped in photographs depicting the 2019 campus siege at the height of the city's pro-democracy protests at an exhibition held on the campus premises. - The students' union, which organised the exhibition, said they had to censor photos with the banned protest slogan "Liberate Hong Kong" following pressure from university authorities Daniel Suen/AFP via Getty Images
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