The Chinese Embassy in Denmark is pressuring the City of Copenhagen to remove a new eight-meter-high sculpture resembling the struggles that protesters in Hong Kong are facing. The Chinese Embassy reportedly claims the sculpture will damage Danish-Chinese relations, writes Danish daily Jyllands Posten.
The sculpture by the Danish artist Jens Galschiøt is meant to provide “moral support” to the protesters in Hong Kong and add focus on the use of force against them from Beijing. The new sculpture was publicly displayed in front of the Danish Parliament at Christiansborg Castle Square on 23 January but the day before – 22 January – a representative of the Chinese Embassy approached the City of Copenhagen, which has permitted placing the artwork.
During a telephone conversation between representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Denmark and officials in the City of Copenhagen, the embassy mentioned that it would be wise to withdraw the permit for the statute.
The telephone conversation memo prepared by the City of Copenhagen reads, “The embassy stated that the statue was found to be misleading concerning the factual circumstances in Hong Kong and that the placement of the statue was considered an interference in internal Chinese affairs.”
The embassy made it clear in the telephone conversation that the statue would “be offensive to especially the many Chinese tourists who visit the Danish parliament building (Folketing)”, that it could pose “a security risk”, and that “the statue would be harmful to Danish-Chinese relations and the friendly relations between the Chinese and Danish people”. “The embassy mentioned that it would be wise to withdraw the permit for the statue,” the telephone memo reads.
Pia Kjærsgaard (DF), a member of the Danish Parliament calls the Chinese embassy’s behavior “tiring”.
“They need to stop. It’s incredible how they think they can order our people’s government around,” Pia Kjærsgaard says to Jyllands Posten.
Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod writes in an email that the Chinese embassy “naturally” has “the opportunity to express its assessments and views”.
“But I also want to make it clear that it must not result in a practice that is contrary to Danish law,” he said, noting that the Chinese wish was not complied with by the City of Copenhagen.
According to the plan, the artwork will be displayed until 21 April.