Jens Galschiøt’s statue exhibited in Budapest in protest of Chinese project

Jens Galschiøt is setting up a sculpture in Budapest. It is a model of his sculpture ‘pillar of shame’ which was removed from a university in Hong Kong in December. Photo: Jens Galschiøt / Free

A smaller model of Danish artist Jens Galschiøt’s ‘pillar of shame’, which was removed in Hong Kong last year, is now on display in Budapest in protest of a Chinese project, media SN writes.

The original sculpture is eight-meter high and shows a series of twisted bodies stacked on top of each other in memory of the victims during the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The sculpture was given on permanent loan in 1997 to the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and it stood at Hong Kong University for 24 years until it was removed at Christmas time last year. 

A smaller model of the sculpture is now displayed in the Hungarian capital of Budapest as a protest against a Chinese university to be built in the city.

Jens Galschiøt explains that he has been invited to set up the ‘pillar of shame’ by the mayor of Budapest.

According to the BBC, the Chinese university will cost $ 1.8 billion. That, according to the BBC, is more money than the Hungarian government spent on higher education in 2019. Part of the money is reportedly borrowed from a Chinese bank.

This summer, thousands of Hungarians took to the streets to protest against plans to make the university.

“It is a very violent sculpture, which is very well known because it is a kind of death monument to a crime that has happened,” Jens Galschiøt says and adds that the sculpture is part of a movement against the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán.

“It is a fight for democracy that is taking place in Hungary. Here it is centered around education policy, so it is a very important action – both in relation to the EU and all sorts of others,” he says.

The mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karacsony, is also against the Chinese university. According to the BBC, he has named several roads in the area where the university is to be located, after victims of China’s human rights violations. For example, there are roads called Free Hong Kong Road and Dalai Lama Street.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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