Thu, Oct 29, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Intrigue at the Generalissimo’s pied-a-terre

A secret Chiang Kai-shek-era hideaway has opened to the public for the first time

By Cindy Sui  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER , TAOYUAN COUNTY

CIHU SCULPTURE MEMORIAL PARK (慈湖雕塑紀念公園)

This outdoor exhibit is located in Cihu, not Back Cihu. With a total of 152 bronze sculptures placed on a large lawn, it is one of the most distinctive areas of the park. All of the sculptures are of Chiang Kai-shek, except one, which depicts Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

Many of the sculptures were created in honor of Chiang Kai-shek after his death in 1975 and were placed in schools and government offices. During former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) years in power, however, efforts to diminish the legacy and adulation of Chiang led many local offices to get rid of the statues.

Given that Chiang’s mausoleum is in the park, the Taoyuan County Government, which also operates Cihu, began collecting all of these “reject” statues in 2000, with the goal of providing a save haven for them.

“Back then, the DPP encouraged people to knock down the statues. We encouraged people to give them to us. We weren’t thinking about politics, just preserving history and culture,” said Hsieh Shyang-ling (謝祥齡), a spokeswoman for the county’s Tourism Promotion Department (桃園縣政府觀光行銷處).

The tallest statue is 7m high and was donated by the Kaohsiung City Government. All of the statues are at least 170cm tall, as it was standard practice to make all full-body statues of Chiang Kai-shek, who was 169.7cm, at least as tall as he was.

Some show the Generalissimo wearing his military uniform, while others show him seated or riding a horse.

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