A statue that has become a symbol of the city’s ongoing pro-democracy protests has been found toppled over and vandalized one day after it was hauled to the top of a prominent Hong Kong mountain and installed there.
“Lady Liberty Hong Kong” is a four-meter statue of a female protester wearing protective gear and wielding an umbrella and flag bearing the words “Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution now.”
The design echoes the “Goddess of Democracy” statue that was erected in Tiananmen Square during the student-led pro-democracy protests there in 1989. It has since been a regular sight during the city’s ongoing anti-government protests.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, a group of volunteers hauled the statue to the top of Lion Rock — one of the best known peaks in the city — with organizers confirming that Lion Rock would be the work’s “final resting place.”
But this morning, photos began circulating online showing the statue toppled over, with red paint sprayed onto its legs.
It’s remains unclear who’s responsible for toppling over the statue.
Lion Rock — so called because it’s said to vaguely resemble a crouching lion — has long been referred to as a symbol of Hongkongers’ can-do attitude, also known as the “Lion Rock spirit.” People have hung political banners on it, and it even has its own song, Below the Lion Rock.
The 495-meter mountain overlooks Kowloon’s densely packed working-class districts, where many escaping communist China during the worst excesses of the Mao-era first settled.
Alex, Lady Liberty’s creator, said that the 80-kilo statue had been hauled up the mountain in two pieces by 16 “climbing professionals,” and that much like the protests themselves — which are leaderless and organized online — the design for Lady Liberty was crowd-sourced.
“We invited design proposals on LIHKG, organized a universal vote asking people to pick their favorite design,” Alex said, referencing the most popular forum for Hong Kong protesters.
Asked why they had chosen Lion Rock to be the statue’s permanent home, he said it was “a symbolic gesture to infuse a refreshed mindset for the fight for democracy.”
The mountain and the statue, he added, represented “the fundamental values and beliefs” of the protest movement.
Additional reporting by AFP.