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15 Oct 2021

Adam Taylor and Shibani Mahtani , The Washington Post (USA)

Hong Kong: US law firm Mayer Brown withdraws representation on behalf of University of Hong Kong in dispute over Tiananmen memorial’s removal

"U.S. law firm Mayer Brown to cease work for University of Hong Kong in dispute over Tiananmen memorial’s removal", 15 October 2021

The U.S. law firm Mayer Brown will no longer represent the University of Hong Kong in seeking the removal of a statue memorializing the Tiananmen Square massacre, the firm confirmed on Friday.

The move comes amid a controversy over the statue, which has stood at Hong Kong’s oldest university for 24 years. The artwork, known as the “Pillar of Shame,” has faced removal as officials clamp down on any acknowledgment in Hong Kong of the 1989 Beijing massacre, just as they have in mainland China.

Going forward, Mayer Brown will not be representing its long-time client in this matter. We have no further comment,” the firm said in a statement.

The firm is withdrawing its representation of the university just on this issue. The University of Hong Kong is “a longstanding client and leading educational institution,” said a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity. [...]

Last week, more than two dozen nonprofit groups urged Mayer Brown to stop representing the university.

“We therefore expect Mayer Brown law firm to safeguard their reputation and their integrity in defending the right of freedom of expression by rescinding their agreement with the University of Hong Kong,” the groups said in an open letter.

The law firm had also faced pressure from U.S. lawmakers. [...]