A four-metre high goddess statue meant to honour the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing has been removed from York University’s student centre, reports the Toronto Star.
Its disappearance had Cheuk Kwan, chair of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China, asking whether it was removed due to political pressure from the Chinese government. After all, Cheuk Yan Lee, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government was to visit York this week.
In fact, the board of the student centre had thrown the statue away. “The materials used in its construction have exceeded their life expectancy, ” Scott Jarvis, the centre’s director told the Star.
Still, Kwan isn’t pleased. “The goddess replica is an iconic symbol of China’s democratic movement. We’re upset that they just threw it into a scrap pit,” he said. The original Goddess of Democracy statue was built by Beijing Fine Arts Academy in honour of the democracy movement. The gold-coloured replica at York University was created by Fine Arts students in 1992.
The Tiananmen Massacre occurred on June 4, 1989 when the People’s Revolution Army used live fire to make its way to Tiananmen Square and clear it of pro-democracy protesters who had been demonstrating for liberalization. At least several hundred people were killed by the army.