Information letter from Jens Galschiøt to the Hong Kong list. September 12th, 2023
Students Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Possession of Pillar of Shame Art Lithograph!
Dear Hong Kong List,
I just learned that Zeng Yuxuan, a 23 year old law student, has been sentenced to 6 months in jail in Hong Kong for planning to display a Pillar of Shame Art Lithograph to commemorate the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing in 1989.
Zeng Yuxuans ‘crime’ was to want to take part in a worldwide art happening, where Tiananmen-survivors, supporters and Human Rights organizations could use huge numbered Pillar of Shame art lithographs for the traditional commemoration of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4th, 1989. A tradition that used to take place in Hong Kong, but is now banned.
40+ groups in 18+ countries participated, using the numbered banner lithographs for their event. Artists and EU Parliamentarians partook in the happening and not a single event (apart from Zeng Yuxuans’) was questioned. See more
Commemorating a massacre on Chinese students should not be a criminal act anywhere in the world! Mourning those who died to peacefully protest should be ‘celebrated’ as a humane and good hearted act, not punished.
When I put up the Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong 1997, hundreds of thousands of citizens would show up in Hong Kong on June 4th to commemorate the massacre. Today the case of jailing the innocent woman is yet another step towards a full merging of Hong Kong into China, despite Chinas promise of a One Country Two Systems policy.
In May this year Hong Kong’s police seized my sculpture, the Pillar of Shame, without informing me. I have been told nothing, but it seems they will use it in a case of "incitement to subversion" against the Hong Kong Democracy Alliance who has been maintaining the sculpture. This too is outrageous as the National Security Law did not apply when these events took place.
Lately there have been reports of an arrest order on me, which Hong Kong’s authorities refuse to confirm with the argument that ‘I wouldn’t tell a thief I planned to arrest them’ – a rhetoric that underlines the increasingly authoritarian system in Hong Kong.
I am deeply concerned about the wellbeing of Zeng Yuxuan. I
t really hurts me to know that it is an art lithograph of my sculpture that has ended her in Jail. This was never the intention. Zeng Yuxuan is one of many that have been jailed in Hong Kong for fighting for freedom of speech and the right to remember the Tiananmen M
Please feel free to write or call me for comments and interviews.
Jens Galschiøt, artist behind the Pillar of Shame
Ph +45 4044 7058 or +45 6618 4058
Background and links
The Case of Zeng Yuxuan described in details