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  • » 05/10/2007, 00.00

    TAIWAN

    Taiwan’s changing landscape, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall renamed



    Taiwan’s government approves renaming the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. Kuomintang cries foul.

    Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Taiwanese government yesterday approved a proposal to change the name of Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, one of Taipei’s landmarks, and rename it the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall in honour of the island's democratic development.

    “With the deletion of the statute (governing the Hall’s administration), the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall will be renamed the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall,” cabinet spokeswoman Chen Mei-ling said.

    The Education Ministry, which will supervise the management of the renamed memorial, will also decide when to reopen it after ongoing renovation work is completed, said Ms Chen.

    The complex includes a monument, a park, an opera house, a concert hall, an arch and surrounding walls—all in traditional Chinese designs.

    It is not clear though whether a huge statue of Chiang will be removed or dismantled.

    Reactions to the decision were swift. Lawmakers from President Chen Shui-bian’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) welcomed the move, saying that there was no reason to remember a "dictator" who had killed so many people in Taiwan.

    Nationalists from the Kuomintang (heirs to the generalissimo) cried foul. KMT MP Pan Wei-kang called the change a DPP attempt to erase the legacy of the late KMT leader in order to please pro-independence supporters ahead of legislative elections in December and the presidential poll in March.

    The decision to rename the Hall is part of a wider campaign of change promoted by the DPP. It involves removing every reference to mainland China in public buildings and institutions ranging from public transit to stamps from the island to highlight the fact that the island has been effectively independent since 1949.

    For Beijing this decision represents the latest attempt at cutting ties binding the island to the mainland. For Communist China, the island remains a rebel province that must eventually join the rest of the nation, by force if necessary.

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    See also

    21/07/2009 TAIWAN – CHINA
    For the first time since 1949 Taiwan to open office in China
    China and Taiwan agree to open tourist offices in each other’s capital to deal with issues generated by growing tourism. In Taiwan ruling party restores Chiang Kai-shek’s name to Memorial Hall.

    02/01/2008 TAIWAN
    Rededicated to democracy ex-Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall reopens
    The building had been closed for some months; now it is dedicated to liberty and the victims of Chiang’s rule. The historical revisionism of Chiang’s rule conceals an ongoing power struggle between the island’s main parties ahead of this year’s elections.

    26/03/2009 TAIWAN – CHINA
    Trial of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian opens
    Former leader enters courtroom in handcuffs, charged with corruption, money laundering and forging documents. For many the proceedings are a “government purge” by the Kuomintang against its Democratic Progressive opponent. Suspicions also fall on the mainland.

    10/12/2007 TAIWAN
    Removing the memory of Chiang Kai-shek, a internal challenge in Taiwan
    Taiwan’s ruling DPP government has removed the name of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek from what is now Taiwan's Democracy Memorial Hall complex. A missionary who is also an East Asia expert explains the reasons behind the decision, which he attributes to the upcoming presidential elections rather than any pro-independence motive.

    07/02/2007 TAIWAN
    Government to remove all Chiang Kai-shek statues
    The Taiwanese are openly discussing the responsibilities of the late dictator in the 228 massacre and the White Terror. The Kuomintang accuses the government of trying to deny the past. President Chen reshuffles his cabinet to show who is in charge and prepare the next elections.



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