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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 15:39 GMT
King's statue stirs Hong Kong passions
Statue of George VI
George VI reigned from 1936-52

A row has blown up in Hong Kong over plans to move a statue of the late British monarch King George VI from a spot where it has stood for half a century and place it next to the monkey enclosures in the city's Botanical Gardens.
King George occupies a prime site, looking at the city's skyscrapers

A group of local councillors want the statue of King George to make way for one of the Chinese revolutionary heroes, Dr Sun Yat-Sen.

But the plan has been described as an insult to the city's colonial history.

From a hillside above Hong Kong, the statue of King George VI - the father of Queen Elizabeth II - gazes across what was one of the jewels in his empire.

He occupies a prime site, looking at the city's skyscrapers.

'Outrage'

Saying it should be reserved for a Chinese, not a British statue, local councillors have sparked a fierce debate.

They propose using the pedestal for a statue of Dr Sun.

He is seen as the father of the first Chinese republic and was briefly president after the overthrow of China's imperial dynasty in 1911.

Hong Kong harbour
Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control in 1997

He spent his formative political years in Hong Kong.

The plan would have King George end up across the road - next to cages containing monkeys and orang-utans in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

The Royal Asiatic Society has branded the idea a deliberate insult and an outrage.

King George's statue was put up more than 50 years ago to celebrate the centenary of Hong Kong's founding as a colony.

Hong Kong's main English language newspaper has said that history should be left where it is, and that while a statue to Doctor Sun is needed, it shouldn't come at the expense of any other figure from the past.

The local council has been left deadlocked, and says it will try to make a decision in a month's time.

See also:

30 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
19 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
10 Dec 02 | Country profiles
10 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


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