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Activists Paint Pillar Orange

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Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot is an artist with a lengthy relationship to the Chinese democracy movement. He is the sculptor behind "the Pillar of Shame," an 8 meter tall, two ton concrete sculpture in Hong Kong that was unveiled in 1997 to protest the Tiananmen Square crackdown. The concrete pillar depicts about 50 mangled human bodies.

Its name in Chinese translates back as "the Wound of the Nation." The base of the sculpture has engraved in both English and Chinese the words "The Tiananmen Massacre", "June 4th 1989" and "The old cannot kill the young forever."

Now as the world focuses on the Olympic Games of 2008 -- slated to take place in Beijing -- Galschiot is behind a growing movement to use the color orange as an expression of concern about human rights practices in Communist China. The plan seems to be succeeding despite the authorities. The campaign asks, "Can China ban the Color Orange?"

On March 24, as the Olympic flame was ignited in Olympia, 10 Danish orange activists travelled to Greece, anticipating the March 30 ceremony where Greek officials would pass the torch to Chinese officials.

They were stopped by Greek police on March 28. Apparently, a crime is not necessary for police action in Greece. To merely wear the color orange will frighten Greek authorities. This protest action was covered by television reporters for the BBC.

According to the BBC, "The Danes have been asking whether the Chinese can ban the color orange. But the answer appears to be that the Greeks can." (Watch that report at

On April 26, the government of Hong Kong did a similar act, denying entry to three orange activists at the airport. This drew sharp condemnation from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. In an April 28 letter to Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang, Chairman Szeto Wah noted, "Mr. Jens Galschiot had come to Hong Kong twice prior to this incident without any problem....All the planned activities are legal and peaceful."

It was Galschiot's plan to paint the Pillar of Shame in the color orange, drawing attention back to the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's human rights problems, opposite the May 2 appearance of the Olympic torch in Hong Kong.

What the Danes could not do, the Hong Kong Alliance could. --On April 30, Alliance activists painted the Pillar orange. A press release at said that the Pillar of Shame "was today painted orange by the Chinese Democracy Movement."

Galschiot is actually happy that the Color Orange movement has "its own life and is spreading independently of me." Can the Chinese democracy movement pick up a paint brush? Yes, it can. And, the color orange is now being used to shame the government of Communist China. (Video at

Galschiot also says, "I create my happenings independently of political, religious and economical interests. To me it is equally alarming whether it is Serbs who persecute Muslims or vice versa. The criterion for evaluating an atrocity is the same regardless of who is the perpetrator or who is the victim."
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The author was once the 18-year-old candidate for U.S. President ('84) and later the founder of the China Support Network, post-Tiananmen Square.
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