May 15, 2020 / 2:03 PM / 12 days ago

New work by Chinese dissident artist shows support for Hong Kong protests

Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot is seen in front of his sculpture "The Pillar of Shame" at the unveiling of Chinese cartoonist Badiucao's new illustration "A New Tank" at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 15, 2020. John Nielsen/Handout via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A new work by Chinese dissident artist Badiucao in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters shows the image of a lone man standing in the path of a tank taken on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

But in Badiucao’s version of the photograph, which came to be one of the most recognisable images of the 20th century, the tank is carrying a huge particle of the new coronavirus.

The work was unveiled on Friday in front of the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, three days before start of the trial in Hong Kong of 15 pro-democracy activists, including veteran politicians and a publishing tycoon, on charges of “organising and taking part in unlawful assembly”.

Badiucao said his work, “A New Tank”, is a protest against the Chinese government which he believes is utilising the diversion created by the global pandemic to crack down on Hong Kong pro-democracy movement.

“Because of the pandemic situation and as countries are busy controlling it, the Hong Kong government will do more to crack down on the protests and the leaders and activists of the movement, and they will see it as an opportunity to do it quietly,” Badiucao told Reuters in a video conference from Australia, where he lives.

The Chinese embassy in Denmark was not immediately reachable for a comment when contacted by phone and email by Reuters. China has previously denied meddling in Hong Kong and blames the West for stirring up trouble.

The artwork will be displayed on boards and banners by an eight-metre high copper sculpture called “Pillar of Shame” made by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, that was unveiled in Copenhagen in January. The sculpture is one of four, one which stands in Hong Kong.

Reporting by Andreas Mortensen; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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