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Hong Kong’s statues are disappearing, but their symbolism may prove harder to erase

Written by Oscar Holland, CNNHong Kong

Contributors Teele Rebane, Lizzy YeeCheryl Ho

Depicting a heap of screaming faces and contorted torsos, the “Pillar of Shame” was not just a reminder of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre — it was, for many, an emblem of free speech in Hong Kong.
One of the vanishingly few memorials to the crackdown’s victims tolerated on Chinese soil, the statue’s presence at University of Hong Kong (HKU) was long considered a bellwether of artistic censorship in the semi-autonomous city. Its removal last Wednesday night was, for some students, another sign of Beijing’s tightening grip.

“By removing this pillar… we can see that our freedom is being taken away, bit by bit, day by day,” said one student on campus the next morning. “It reminds me that the (Chinese Communist Party) is an illegitimate regime,” another said.

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