Political rights group in Taiwan seeks ‘Pillar of Shame’ vandal

The New School for Democracy yesterday said it would hold the person who vandalized a replica of the Pillar of Shame sculpture accountable and demand an apology from them.

The original sculpture, created by Danish artist Jens Galschiot, was installed at the University of Hong Kong for 23 years before authorities destroyed it on Dec. 22 last year for allegedly contravening Hong Kong’s National Security Law.

With the artist’s approval, a replica was made and unveiled at a memorial in Taipei for the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4. It is now part of an exhibition held by the New School for Democracy in remembrance of the 1989 democratic uprising in China.

At 8:55am yesterday, black paint was found sprayed across the pillar. After reviewing surveillance footage in the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Taipei City Police Department’s Zhongheng First Precinct identified and arrested a suspect.

New School for Democracy chairman Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元) said that previous Tiananmen Square memorial events have been disrupted by similar incidents, adding that a mentally disabled person was once told to knock down an artwork on display.

Yesterday’s incident was meant as a warning to Taiwanese that they should not discuss the incident, Tseng said, adding that “if they succeed in silencing Taiwanese, they could silence Chinese around the world.”

The political rights group said in statement that it condemns all forms of violence, whether it be the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, the destruction of the Pillar of Shame last year in Hong Kong or the defacement of the 3D-printed Pillar of Shame replica in Taipei, and would never compromise on the matter.

“We will insist on pursuing legal and political responsibility for the perpetrator and their accomplices, and demand an apology,” it said.
“The act of vandalism not only destroys the artwork, but also supports all atrocities and crimes against humanity. It also challenges Taiwan’s constitutional order that guarantees creativity, freedom of thought and freedom of assembly,” it added.

Source: Taipei Times

About Jaqueline Deeon

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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