The dictator is losing his place in the sun, at least on military bases.
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has promised to remove all statues of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌) told a press conference yesterday that the ministry had promised to store all of the statues in indoor facilities in response to a proposal from the party last weekend.
Hsueh was accompanied by DPP legislators Chai Trong-rong (
"This [proposal] conforms to the basic principle of democracy," Hsueh said. "Names of places such as the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport have also been changed [to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport]. This is a world trend, because we are in a democratic era now, not an authoritarian one."
Hsueh said removing Chiang's statutes was a way to help the military get rid of the symbolic influence of the dictator, who controlled the military with an iron grip.
Chai said in a press release that since an investigative report published by the 228 Incident Memorial Foundation last year concluded that Chiang should be held responsible for the incident, which took place in 1947, his statutes located in every part of the nation should be removed.
In the 228 Incident, conflict between anti-contraband officers and local people led to clashes.
Thereafter military forces were called in from China, escalating into an islandwide crackdown during which tens of thousands of people were arrested and killed.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (
Gao said that the Provisions Governing the Organization of the CKS Memorial Hall Administration Office (
After relocation, the current site could be used to honor the nation's democratic development, he said.
Meanwhile, ministry spokesman Rear-Admiral Wu Chi-fang (
"Because the military has been proceeding with a downsizing of the army ... the ministry last year began implementing the proposal of removing statues of Chiang Kai-shek along with the reshuffling of military bases, and is arranging that the statues are moved to proper places, such as existing monuments relating to Chiang Kai-shek nationwide," Wu said.
He said the statues standing outside military bases were being eroded and stained by their exposure to the elements.
"The military honors the late president's contribution to the country and the military, and we honor history, but times have changed and it is now a democratic age," Wu said.
He said that the proposal would not change the training of soldiers.
"We educate the military to love our country, but we have never educated the military to love Chiang Kai-shek," he said.
Wu said that the removal of the statues was nearing completion.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday called a press conference at which they accused the government and DPP lawmakers of thinking only of pleasing pan-green supporters.
"Blaming Chiang for the 228 Incident is a distortion of history. His statues should be kept in public places," KMT Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (
Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that changing the names of state-owned firms would be a waste of money.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs recently said that the state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) and China Shipbuilding Corp would soon be renamed to include "Taiwan" in their company titles.
"I think that CPC and China Shipbuilding would need at least NT$3 billion [US$91 million] to change their names, an amount that could be used to subsidize 35,000 low-income families," Lai said.
The KMT lawmakers threatened to cut the budget of state-owned enterprises in the next legislative session if the Ministry of Economic Affairs refused to suspend the name change.
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