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Pillar of Shame in Taipei Liberty Square defaced

New School for Democracy issues statement condemning perpetrator

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An unidentified individual reportedly sprayed black paint over the replicated Pillar of Shame in Liberty Square.

An unidentified individual reportedly sprayed black paint over the replicated Pillar of Shame in Liberty Square. (CNA photo)

Taipei (Taiwan News) — An unknown person sprayed black paint over the Pillar of Shame, which was erected in Taipei Liberty Square to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on Sunday (June 12).

The Pillar of Shame, created by Danish artist Jens Galshiot, was at the University of Hong Kong campus for 23 years before it was suddenly removed on the evening of December 22, 2021. The pillar was replicated in Taiwan and unveiled during the Tiananmen Square Massacre’s 33rd-anniversary vigil, CNA reported.

The New School for Democracy (NSD), which was behind the display of the sculpture, issued a statement condemning the culprit of the vandalism. According to the NSD, after an unidentified individual wearing black clothing sprayed paint over the sculpture at around 8:55 a.m., it immediately reported the incident to the police.

The act of vandalism not only sabotages the work of art but also reflects support for crimes against humanity, according to the NSD. Furthermore, it challenges Taiwan’s constitutional protection of freedom, creation, thought, and assembly.

“The school condemns all forms of violence and will definitely not give in to any form of violence, from the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing in 1989, the violent removal and demolition of the Pillar of Shame at the University of Hong Kong in 2021, or the spray-paint vandalism of the 3D-printed Pillar of Shame on National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall’s Democracy Boulevard in Taipei, Taiwan today,” wrote NSD. It added that it will take legal action and demand an apology from the culprit and the “accomplice organization behind it.”

NSD Chair Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元) told CNA that the culprit’s actions had been entirely recorded by nearby surveillance cameras, and the police have tracked down the suspect. A security guard was cited as saying the individual worked alone.

Pillar of Shame in Taipei Liberty Square defaced
A close-up look of the vandalized Pillar of Shame (CNA photo)

Pillar of Shame in Taipei Liberty Square defaced
The 3D-printed replica of the Pillar of Shame was unveiled on June 4, which marked the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. (CNA photo)