Pan-democrats pledge to display artwork

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 June, 2009, 12:00am

Pan-democrat lawmakers have promised that an art piece commemorating the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Beijing will be displayed in the Legislative Council every week.

Beijing loyalists were outraged when the work, Fragments of a Democracy Story by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, was put on show in Legco's ante-chamber for about 20 minutes on Tuesday.

Democrat Cheung Man-kwong said yesterday: 'This sculpture signifies democracy verses anti-democracy, and our fight to have it put on permanent display in the Legco building is part of that fight. The sculpture shows people in shock and bleeding in sadness for injustices. It is most appropriate for it to stand watching the daily struggles by the people we talk about in this chamber.'

Unionist Lee Cheuk-yan said even if the Legco Commission, which meets on June 11 to decide how to deal with the gift donated by Galschiot, decided it should not be displayed, his colleagues would bring it in every Wednesday.

Independent democrat Cyd Ho Sau-lan had received the sculpture from Galschiot's sons on behalf of the legislature.

The sculptor was denied entry to Hong Kong on Saturday. A row erupted on Tuesday when Legco president Tsang Yok-sing refused to accept the sculpture before the commission meets. Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, opposed any display of the 'very political' item, saying it should either be sent back or 'put away in the storeroom'.

Mr Lee said: 'The DAB wants to lock democracy into the storeroom while throwing away the key. As long as Beijing refuses to unlock it, Hong Kong will have no democracy.'

Mr Ip clarified his comments yesterday, saying he did not mean what he said about putting the sculpture into a storeroom. He said everybody knew why it was inappropriate for it to be displayed.

In a statement issued last night, Legco secretary-general Pauline Ng Man-wah confirmed the Legco Secretariat has formally received the sculpture, which would be 'temporarily kept on a loan basis' until the Legco Commission decided whether to retain it for display for a specified period.