Tiananmen Square 'Pillar of Shame' replica in Taipei smeared with paint

Taiwanese police have detained a 19-year-old man for spraying black paint on a replica of the "Pillar of Shame" statue honoring the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident.

The statue in Taipei was found vandalized on Sunday. Police checked security camera footage, tracked down the suspect, and are investigating his background.

The suspect reportedly told investigators that he wanted to vent his anger over his hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A civic group called the New School for Democracy organized the creation of the replica. Its chairman, Tseng Chien-yuan, said it is not merely an act of property damage.

Tseng said it is an attempt to silence any Taiwanese people who speak about the Tiananmen Square incident and all other historical mistakes made by the Chinese Communist Party.

The original sculpture created by a Danish artist had been on the University of Hong Kong's campus since 1998.

The university removed the statue last December following a series of arrests under Hong Kong's national security law that is used to clamp down on anti-government activities.

With permission from the Danish creator, the civic group reproduced the statue using a 3-D printer. It had been on display in a square in Taipei since June 4, the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident.