Tiananmen art sculptor to ask: may I visit HK?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 March, 2009, 12:00am

Danish sculptor and human rights activist Jens Galschiot says he will ask the Hong Kong government whether he will be allowed to visit the city before embarking on a trip to repair a sculpture he created in memory of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The Pillar of Shame, which Galschiot made in 1997, is on permanent display in the University of Hong Kong, but has suffered damage, apparently due to normal wear and tear.

The sculptor, who was turned away at the airport during the Olympic torch relay last year, is not sure if he will be granted entry to repair it.

'I wish to come and repair it and also take part in the annual June 4 remembrance vigil. But this time I will ask the Hong Kong government in advance,' he said from Denmark.

Last year, government sources said he was not welcome because of his association with pro-Tibetan human rights groups.

At a meeting last night, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China discussed how to assist Galschiot.

Alliance secretary Albert Ho Chun-yan said it would damage Hong Kong's image if the government again refused to let the activist in. 'We will prepare in advance to allow ample time ahead of his visit,' he said.

Separately, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong refused to comment at a special meeting of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee on whether mainland dissident Wang Dan, previously barred, would be allowed to take part in a candle-light vigil marking the 20th anniversary of the crackdown.

Mr Wang, who is in exile in Britain, also wants to take part in a pro-democracy seminar in May.

More than 39,500 people were denied entry last year, 66 per cent because of doubts about the purpose of their visit. Unionist lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan asked whether activists, including Galschiot, had been barred for this reason.