June 4 vigil in Prague to remember Tiananmen Square massacre

A banner featuring the Pillar of Shame memorial, which was seized by Hong Kong police last month, will be part of a June 4 vigil in Prague.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 03.06.2023 12:04:00 (updated on 06.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Tomorrow marks the 34th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when hundreds of demonstrators were killed by the People's Liberation Army in central Beijing. A vigil in Prague's Wenceslas Square, part of a worldwide campaign, will remember the massacre as its legacy is erased in modern-day China.

The Prague event will begin at 8:30 p.m. on June 4 at the upper portion of Wenceslas Square under the Statue Of St. Wenceslas. It will include a banner featuring a 1:1 replica of the Pillar of Shame, a Hong Kong memorial that has come to serve as a worldwide symbol of Chinese censorship of historical events.

The Pillar of Shame was originally created by Dutch artist Jens Galschiøt to remember the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and displayed in Hong Kong's Victoria Park and universities across the city from 1997.

In 2021, however, the statue was controversially removed from the campus of the University of Hong Kong and placed into storage. Last month, the statue was removed from storage and seized by Hong Kong police.

Over the past two years, Galschiøt has relinquished the copyright for the Pillar of Shame and allowed replicas to be freely created and displayed. The artist himself unveiled one of those replicas at Pragues' DOX Centre for Contemporary Art on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year.

"On June 4th, we will gather at Wenceslas Square, to remember the tragic events of the Tiananmen Square massacre that took place on this day in 1989," organizers 我地 NGO DEI write on Facebook. "As we come together, we will pay tribute to the brave individuals who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom and democracy."

"Through our actions, we seek to support the freedom and democracy fighters who are still in jail in Hong Kong and China, to show our solidarity with all those who are standing up for their rights. We believe that by coming together, we can send a message of hope and support to those who need it most."

The vigil in Prague will be part of a series of concurrent events to remember the Tiananmen Square massacre that will take place in cities across the world, in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

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