Sculptor seeks immunity to pick up ‘Pillar of Shame’

The Danish sculptor of a statue that commemorates those who died on June 4, 1989 in Beijing, has asked SAR authorities for immunity from the national security law so that he can come and take it back to Denmark.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has earlier called for the “Pillar of Shame” to be removed from the campus.

In an open letter published on Friday, Jens Galschiot said he is willing to take the statue back to Denmark, but he needs to be in the city to make sure it’s dismantled properly.

“The sculpture is very difficult to move, and it will require considerable expertise to move it from the area at the university without causing significant and irreparable damage to the costly sculpture,” he wrote.

The sculptor also called for assurances that he would not be prosecuted under the national security law.

“I can understand from the press that the introduction of the new security legislation in Hong Kong means that there is a legal basis for arresting foreign nationals who engage in activities that criticise China,” he added.

Galschiot said he’s worried that the removal of the statue “will lead to activities and media coverage that could be perceived as criticism of China”, and he needs to get a guarantee from the authorities that he and his colleagues won’t be prosecuted.

In response to RTHK’s enquiry, the government said it won’t comment on specific cases.

“However, it should be pointed out that whether a person violates the NSL would depend on the actual circumstances of the case, including the facts, the relevant acts and the mens rea, the evidence gathered, etc. The matter will be handled in accordance with the law,” a government spokesperson said.

“In exercising immigration control, the Immigration Department will act in accordance with relevant laws and policies.”

HKU has so far not responded to a request for comment.