Tiananmen Square crackdown

Hong Kong's Goddess of Democracy statue shines light on Tiananmen Square tragedy … for now

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 April, 2014, 3:05am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 2014, 3:05am

A two-metre tall statue of the Goddess of Democracy was erected in the unofficial June 4 museum in Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday, despite complaints from neighbours that may see the museum evicted before the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square bloodshed.

Organiser Lee Cheuk-yan pledged to go ahead with a trial opening of the museum tomorrow despite a lawsuit from neighbours that he believes is politically motivated.

The statue is the museum's main feature and resembles the Beijing original built by students 25 years ago.

"I hope to attract both Hong Kong students and mainland visitors so that the truth about the June 4 massacre can be passed on to the next generation and radiated to the mainland," said Lee, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which runs the museum.

But there was still no sign that the owners' corporation of the Foo Hoo Centre in Austin Avenue would withdraw its legal objection to the museum, which it says may breach the building's rules of use.

Lee said the action was another sign of political suppression of the pan-democrats, questioning why two of the co-owners were being "so generous" as to fund the action themselves.

He said he had been unable to get in touch with his possible court rivals.

The opponents' concerns revolve around a possible violation of property deeds and the nuisance created for other tenants.

But Lee gave an assurance that controls over the flow of visitors would minimise the impact on other users of the building.

He also highlighted the museum's importance as what is thought to be China's only venue featuring a permanent exhibition about the tragedy.

And the team has come up with a novel way of providing souvenirs that can evade checks by mainland customs.

"We have produced USB memory sticks containing visuals and other kinds of documents about the June 4 student movement. Compared with clothes printed with June 4 information, I believe such memory sticks are much more likely to make it into the mainland," Lee said.