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[–]autotldrBOT 4261 points4262 points4263 points  (260 children)

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 83%. (I'm a bot)

Workers at the University of Hong Kong removed the Tiananmen Massacre monument late on Wednesday night, months after the university said the statue must be go.

Jens Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame monument has stood on campus for over two decades, though - in October - university authorities demanded its removal amid a crackdown on those commemorating the 1989 massacre.

In a statement on Thursday, he said: "I'm totally shocked that Hong Kong University is currently destroying the Pillar of Shame It is my private property and the sculpture belongs to me personally I will claim compensation for any damage to the sculpture."

Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: University#1 statue#2 Hong#3 Kong#4 Massacre#5

[–]Nikurou 291 points292 points293 points  (28 children)

It's not so much that they deny that it happened but they retell it in a different manner. But the government for sure does censor that event and don't want to talk of it. I was curious as to how the event was taught in school over there or if it was just not mentioned at all. Apparently, some do study it but are told that they were "violent protestors" or "riots" and that violence had to be used to suppress it. But it's usually glossed over in brief or not mentioned at all. Something along the lines of "the victor writes the history books" kind of deal I suppose.

Surprisingly, from a Times article interview, it seems a lot of the Chinese millennials know it happened, where some acknowledge it was horrible, but that it was a different time/era, or perhaps that it was necessary evil, whereas some are absolutely horrified that it happened, are sympathetic, and want change. Within the people itself, it's a mixed bag of responses it seems but they themselves seem aware of the event.


[–]WikiSummarizerBot 6 points7 points8 points  (0 children)

Gui Minhai

Gui Minhai (Chinese: 桂敏海 or 桂民海; pinyin: Guì Mǐnhǎi or Guì Mínhǎi; born 5 May 1964), also known as Michael Gui, is a Chinese-born Swedish book publisher and writer. He is an author of many books related to Chinese politics and Chinese political figures; Gui authored around 200 books during his ten-year career under the pen-name Ah Hai (阿海) and is one of three shareholders of Causeway Bay Books in Hong Kong. Gui went missing in Thailand in late 2015, one of five men who vanished in a string of incidents known as the Causeway Bay Books disappearances.

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[–]solongamerica 17 points18 points19 points  (0 children)

This is a very important point.

From what I recall of US media coverage at the time (I was in junior high) it was easy to get the impression that the Tiananmen protests were essentially about democracy.

Part of what encouraged this was the global context. A slew of Eastern European regimes were falling or about to fall. Watching from the US, people really wanted to believe not only that communism was dying but that democracy was on the rise everywhere. There were even dumb optimistic pop songs like “Right Here, Right Now.”

So a lot of Americans like me, who knew nothing about Chinese history or politics, got swept up in what we believed was the immanent triumph of democracy (and the American Way™️) across the globe.

Should’ve listened to Leonard Cohen

[–]KvasirsBlod[S] 6689 points6690 points6691 points  (943 children)

Statement by the sculptor, Jens Galschiøt

I'm totally shocked that Hong Kong University is currently destroying the pillar of shame

It is completely unreasonable and a self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong- I have now for over 3 months written to Hong Kong University that I would like to move the sculpture.

But it has been completely impossible to get in touch with them - all my attempts to contact them have been rejected and my lawyer in Hong Kong has also tried to contact them, but failed.

It is my private property and the sculpture belongs to me personally- I have written to them several times and the Hong Kong Alliance has sent out a statement that it is my private property and that they only have it on loan for exhibition at Hong Kong University

So I have to demand that Hong Kong one take care of the sculpture. And I will claim compensation for any damage to the sculpture.

I myself have offered to go to Hong Kong with a team, and remove the sculpture nor have I been given the opportunity, Hong Kong universities will not talk to me.

Countries around the world have offered to receive The Pillar of Shame and the Danish Foreign Minister has offered his help - but there has been no response from Hong Kong universities or other responsible authorities - it is a disgrace and an abuse and shows that Hong Kong has become a brutal place without laws and regulations such as protecting the population, the arts and private property

And it's even more grotesque that they use the Western holiday, Christmas, to carry out the destruction of the artwork.

[–]MrBadger1978 113 points114 points115 points  (31 children)

China will invade Taiwan in 2022

No they won't.

The CCP elite won't risk their fortunes or their condos in California, let alone their lives, over Taiwan. Despite the rhetoric, there is a good chance China will lose if they attempt an invasion at this point, and both the CCP leadership and the PLA officer corps know it.

Taiwan will be retained as a useful strawman to distract the Chinese population from their own huge internal problems and to provide a focus for ultranationalism.

[–]funwillfunwill 10 points11 points12 points  (2 children)

There's a very real chance Russia will invade Ukraine (although apparently Putin hasn't actually made up his mind yet) but China invading Taiwan in 2022 is exceedingly unlikely for so many reasons. They don't have the naval capability to maintain SLOCs if trade routes got cut off in retaliation, their economy would crash from the US response (even if it wasn't militarily), and Taiwan has a modern enough military to make any invasion a very costly task.

They would be diplomatically isolated from the West, and while China is typically okay with pissing off America that's because it doesn't usually hurt them. This would. Even if America didn't militarily retaliate, American companies would likely be told to leave the country and Chinese imports would be restricted. Their economy couldn't survive that!

Give it a few years on Taiwan. China right now is focusing on its claims in the SCS, modernizing its military, and praying for the Kuomintang to return to power before it chooses to invade. Right now, they'd lose much more than they stand to gain from such an invasion and it would just be a dumb, irrational decision.

[–]ideal_NCO 48 points49 points50 points  (24 children)

20 year long failed war,

That produced a war machine of not only equipment and logistics capabilities, but also a teeth-sharpened veteran fighting force 2 generations long.

If you really think any of these countries really want to get embroiled in a war with “the world’s premier superpower” that has also been at war for two decades equipping and training and getting real-world combat experience, you’re a little off.

The failures in Afghanistan and Iraq did not weaken the US military.

[–]ideal_NCO 13 points14 points15 points  (0 children)

I work for the US Army and this is not exactly a conspiracy theory to many of us, more a consequence of decisions made by the American public to continue to elect representatives that know our protracted engagement in combat operations, and the experience that comes with it, makes us a more credible threat/deterrent than modern weapon systems.

We never nuked Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc…

We parked our shit in their front yard and started kicking in doors.

You can’t nuke an invading force — you’re only nuking yourself at that point.

The US war machine is forward-thinking and forward-reaching. Nobody would be stupid enough to try boots on the ground in the US. Every 3rd person has a weapon even in the most anti-gun areas.

But we’ve been putting boots on the ground for 20 years. Granted it hasn’t been on a near-peer’s soil. But putting boots on a near-peer’s soil is precisely what we’ve been training for since about 2012.

[–]Bbaftt7 623 points624 points625 points  (7 children)

“It’s just not clear who owns the statue”

“It’s mine, I own it.”

“If only we knew who to turn to so that ownership can be claimed”

“I built it, it’s mine I own it, my lawyers have tried to get in touch with as many people as possible!”

“I guess we’ll never know; start tearing it down!”

[–]razza41 57 points58 points59 points  (2 children)

I’m a student at HKU and got this on the email circular.

HKU Council Statement on the Removal of a Statue from Campus

The Council of the University of Hong Kong (HKU Council) made a decision at its meeting on December 22 (Wednesday) to remove a statue, widely known as the Pillar of Shame, from campus.

The decision on the aged statue was based on external legal advice and risk assessment for the best interest of the University.

No party has ever obtained any approval from the University to display the statue on campus, and the University has the right to take appropriate actions to handle it at any time. The University is also very concerned about the potential safety issues resulting from the fragile statue. Latest legal advice given to the University cautioned that the continued display of the statue would pose legal risks to the University based on the Crimes Ordinance enacted under the Hong Kong colonial government.

The HKU Council has requested that the statue be put in storage, and that the University should continue to seek legal advice on any appropriate follow up action.

[–]drhead 28 points29 points30 points  (0 children)

Since all the answers posted so far are either jokes or misinformation, here's the real answer.

There's a video of the entire confrontation. This was as tanks were leaving the square. The tanks stop in front of him, try to move around, and he moves in front of the tank again. Eventually the tanks turn off their engines, and he approaches the tank, climbs on it, and talks to the driver/gunner(?) for a bit. Then some people in plain clothes come up to him and escort him off the road. They may have been concerned civilians or undercover PLA soldiers, nobody knows, there were at least some undercover PLA soldiers in the early stages of the operation but there's no evidence that that's what those people were. Nobody knows who the guy is, the people who claim to know what happened to him don't really have any way of actually knowing it, and the government claims that they don't know who he was but that they don't think he was arrested or killed.

[–]8igg7e5 4 points5 points6 points  (0 children)

Anyone have good images of the monument? No reason we can't start using the image.

Wallpapers, video-chat backgrounds, etc (even in-game constructions in games like Minecraft).

Maybe we can stop it really being erased and, by its presence in images, bring attention to the fact that they keep trying.