The creator of a statue that commemorates protesters killed during the Tiananman Square crackdown says he wants immunity from Hong Kong's national security law, so that he can take the sculpture back to Denmark.
Artist Jens Galschiot made the request in an open letter on Friday, saying that his presence in the city was necessary for the operation to relocate the "Pillar of Shame" to go well.
Galschiot said he wanted reassurances that he would not be prosecuted under a sweeping national security law that was imposed by Beijing in 2020.
The legislation is aimed at punishing acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
The eight-metre tall, two-tonne copper sculpture depicts dozens of torn and twisted bodies, and is said to mark China's crackdown in 1989 on pro-democracy protestors in Tiananman Square.
It's been on display at the University of Hong Kong for more than two decades and was loaned by the Danish sculptor to a local civil society group, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, in perpetuity.
However, in October the school asked the group to remove the statue from its premises, and set a deadline for it, which expired a month ago.
That was all after the Alliance had already disbanded weeks before, with some of its members being accused of national security offenses.
The university, Hong Kong's Security Bureau and the Immigration Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.