06/13/2018, 09.12

Hong Kong, a statue in honour of Liu Xiaobo

Activists unveil the sculpture on Times Square. The space is visited by many tourists from mainland China. The discontent of the administration.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A group of Hong Kong activists today unveiled a statue of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Prize winner and icon of the Chinese democratic movement, who died last year after years in prison. The sculpture was erected in Times Square, Causeway Bay, opposite the entrance to a popular shopping mall.

Activists have asked the Times Square administration that the statue remain there until July 13, the first anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death. Sentenced to 11 years for "subversion against the state" due to some articles he wrote about democracy, Liu was left to die from liver cancer in prison.

The statue, 1.5 meters high, is the result of a donation by an anonymous citizen. The activists had placed a bust of Liu Xiaobo in the same position on May 31, awaiting the vigil of June 4 in memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The choice of location is not random: Times Square is often a tourist transit area from mainland China. "Not many of them have heard of Liu Xiaobo because of the censorship in China," comments Avery Ng Man-yuen, leader of the League of Democrats.

The installation of the statue has provoked discontent, in particular that of the company that owns the shopping centre and which manages the public space since 1992.

“We have no intention of challenging any law as we only hope to commemorate Liu and call for the release of Liu Xia,” the league’s Tsang Kin-shing said, referring to Liu’s widow, who has been under house arrest since 2010 despite not being charged with any crime by Chinese authorities, and who is suffering from depression. For some time, personalities from all over the world have been demanding Liu’s release, and that she be allowed to go abroad for treatment. Hong Kong activists have recently launched a worldwide petition calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to release her.

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