Dismantling of Hong Kong Tiananmen Square Memorial 2021

Dismantling of Hong Kong Tiananmen Square Memorial 2021

Context: The 8-metre “Pillar of Shame” remembered the victims of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The statue at the University of Hong Kong depicts a mass of torn and twisted bodies in a tall pile.

- It was erected in Hong Kong in 1997 during an annual candlelight vigil to commemorate the event.
- Until 2019, a massive outdoor candlelight vigil was held every year on the anniversary.
- Hong Kong authorities have banned the annual vigil for the last two years, citing COVID-19 risks.
- Its removal is seen as an attempt to silence the pro-democracy protests.

Hong Kong Protests Against China 2019

• 2019 protests were to oppose the government’s plan to allow extradition to mainland China.
• The protest recalled the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement (2014) five years ago.

Pillar of Shame

• It is a series of works by Danish sculptor Jens Galschioet, all the same height and typically made of bronze, copper and concrete.
• They were erected in Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil and are designed to remind people of events to ensure they don’t happen again.

 Boxer rebellion

• A Chinese secret society initiated the uprising, the Yihetuan (Righteous and Harmonious Fists).
• This group practised a form of martial arts that resembled boxing, at least to Western eyes.
• The ‘Boxers’ embarked on an armed campaign to drive all foreigners out of China.
• In some areas, the ‘Boxers’ were reinforced by better-equipped Imperial Chinese troops.
• In June 1900, the growing violence forced foreign diplomats, missionaries, soldiers and Chinese Christians to take refuge in the Legation Quarter of Peking (Beijing) and issue a call for international help.
• An eight-nation alliance quickly dispatched a 20,000-strong international force to help.
• Lieutenant-General Sir Alfred Gaselee, a British officer of the Indian Army, commanded it.
• The rebellion officially ended in September 1901 with the signing of the Boxer Protocol.
• The rebellion contributed to the removal of the Qing dynasty in 1911.

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