I send this mail in memory of the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. It is forbidden to mention the massacre in China, and each year fewer yet know what really happened. But all media articles, fliers etc. on ths subject have been collected by the democracy movement in Hong Kong, and can be downloaded for free here. I send you this mail and all the documents, so that you can help in giving the Chinese their story back.
In 1997, I erected an 8 meter tall monument in Hong Kong. This monument is an artistic statement on the situation in China and is so far still the only memorial about the massacre on Chinese soil.
In memory of the 28th anniversary of the massacre, I enclose this appeal, and hope that you will pass it on to your Chinese friends, institutions, and others who might benefit from remembering this landmark event.
Placing this sculpture in Hong Kong cost me a permanent expulsion from China and two expulsions from Hong Kong. I think it's important that artists, cultural groups, and others defend human rights, and that we use our freedom of speech to tell the story of the massacre. I hope that you will help in doing this.
The Chinese character for ”The old cannot kill the young forever” chiseled into the socket on the memorial.
Press release May 2017
Appeal to the press, culture- and art institutions, artists, working places, libraries, universities and others.
Give the Chinese students their history back!
Help mark the 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. In 1989, Chinese students occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing for months in an attempt to press the Chinese government to take steps towards democracy and to fight against corruption. But on the 4th June, 1989, the regime sent in the army against the unarmed students.
Give the Chinese their story back. It is forbidden to mention the story in China, but all the students’ newspaper articles, fliers etc. have been collected by the democracy movement in Hong Kong. These collections of Chinese and English documents have now been put on the Internet where they can be downloaded for free.
Many of the young dissidents were imprisoned in the wake of the crackdown. Some are still in jail but they are no longer young. China still practices massive censorship of information abour the massacre. And it is impossible for Chinese people to obtain uncensored information about the event.
In China the encroachments continue. The imprisonment of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is ongoing, and his wife is still under house arrest. So is the artist Ai Weiwei. But these prominent artists are only the tip of the iceberg, there are thousands of artists, environmental activists and others imprisoned. And all they have done is defend their most basic human rights.
Thousands of Chinese students are today studying at universities and other institutions of education in the West. Most of them do not even know their own history due to the censorship. You can help remedy this.
Therefore we invite all pro-democracy institutions, scholars and working colleagues to download and print out this documentation or put it on a USB flash drive. Place it on the shelves of libraries and hand it out as a gift to Chinese students on the 4th June, the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.
This way we can make a contribution to preserve the memory of the victims, and maybe inspire a new generation of Chinese to see democracy as a possibility in China.
We call on everybody to support this initiative and to mail this appeal to other institutions of education where there are Chinese students, or others who might be interested in preserving and distributing knowledge about the Tiananmen massacre.
The initiative of this appeal and information campaign is a co-operation between the democracy movement in Hong Kong and Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, who in 1997 put up an 8 meter tall Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong, to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre. Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where the victims can be honoured.
About Hong Kong at the moment
It seems that China’s supression of free speech still has a solid grip, also in Hong Kong. Galschiot is just one of many critics who have been denied entry. So the city is deprived of a cultural exchange that is taken for granted in all open democratic societies. The expulsions are a blatant violation of the principle of ‘One country – Two systems’ that was guaranteed as part of Hong Kong’s reunion with China in ‘97.
In 2013 Galschiøt managed to enter Hong Kong to repair ‘The Pillar of Shame’. In these very years Hong Kong stands on the precipice of realizing the 1997 agreements with China, to develop a real democracy in Hong Kong. But they are under a lot of pressure from non-democratic forces. The results of these negotiations are crucial for the future of Hong Kong.
Throughout 2014 massive demonstrations in Hong Kong have taken place. They fight for the right to get the democratic elective system that China promised Hong Kong's citizens when they took over the country in 1997.
The peaceful demonstrations have been met with comprehensive violent force from Hong Kong's police, and the citizens have been defending themselves agains the police´s pepperspray cannisters with simple umbrellas.
Thus the movement now uses the umbrella as a symbol of their struggle to introduce democratic elections into Hong Kong.
A functioning democracy on Chinese ground, even though only in Hong Kong, is an extremely important symbol for the more than one billion living in mainland China.
Now in 2017 the Hong Kong authorities have started imprisoning the pro-democracy protesters from these demonstrations.
The democracy movement in Hong Kong:
Phone: +852 2782 6111
About Jens Galschiøt:
Danish artist Jens Galschiøt has created many socio-critical sculptures and installations through the years. Most often they are placed in public spaces around the world – as needle-sticks and silent reminders of a world that, in his opinion, is out of balance, and where exploitation of the world’s resources, inequality and migration are a constant part of the picture.
General information about Galschiøt can be found at:
This mail has been sent from the sculptor Jens Galschiøt's workshhop.
Contact to the workshop:
5270 Odense N
Tlf : (+45) 6618 4058
Fax:(+45) 6618 4158
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