Hong Kong university takes down Tiananmen statue from campus site

Two Reuters journalists saw scores of workmen in yellow hard hats enter the statue site, which had been draped on all sides by white plastic sheeting and was being guarded by dozens of security personnel.Loud noises from power tools and chains emanated from the closed off area for several hours before workmen were seen carrying out the top half of the statue and winching it up on a crane towards a waiting shipping container. Several months ago, the university had sent a legal letter to the custodians of the statue asking for its removal. Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, who created the statue, said in a statement he was "totally shocked" at this move against his private property and that he would "claim compensation for any damage to the sculpture". The university did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. Some students said the move would undermine HKU's reputation. "The university is a coward to do this action at midnight," said a 19-year-old student on the scene surnamed Chan. "I feel very disappointed as it's a symbol of history. This university claims it advocates academic freedom yet it can't even keep a historical monument." Another student surnamed Leung said he was "heart-broken" to see the statue "being cut into pieces".

Hong Kong university takes down Tiananmen statue from campus site

Two Reuters journalists saw scores of workmen in yellow hard hats enter the statue site, which had been draped on all sides by white plastic sheeting and was being guarded by dozens of security personnel.

Loud noises from power tools and chains emanated from the closed off area for several hours before workmen were seen carrying out the top half of the statue and winching it up on a crane towards a waiting shipping container.

Several months ago, the university had sent a legal letter to the custodians of the statue asking for its removal.

Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, who created the statue, said in a statement he was "totally shocked" at this move against his private property and that he would "claim compensation for any damage to the sculpture".

The university did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Some students said the move would undermine HKU's reputation.

"The university is a coward to do this action at midnight," said a 19-year-old student on the scene surnamed Chan. "I feel very disappointed as it's a symbol of history. This university claims it advocates academic freedom yet it can't even keep a historical monument."

Another student surnamed Leung said he was "heart-broken" to see the statue "being cut into pieces".