Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 1 News List

CKS guards next to go, Yu says

RECTIFICATION The KMT said the DPP was playing a `mean trick,' in response to Yu Shyi-kun's proposal to remove the guards at the dictator's mausoleum

By Flora Wang, Jimmy Chuang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Military police march yesterday at the Tzuhu Presidential Burial Place in Taoyuan County, where the mausoleum of former dictator Chiang Kai-shek is located.

PHOTO: CNA

Military police guarding the mausoleum of former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at the Tzuhu Presidential Burial Place (慈湖陵寢) could be withdrawn if Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun has his way.

Yu plans to make a proposal during the party's Central Standing Committee meeting today that the Cabinet should withdraw the guards, a DPP spokesman said.

The proposal is considered to be part of the rectification campaign the party initiated on May 11, 2002, which includes removing any words related to China in the titles of state-run enterprises and replacing them with "Taiwan."

Over the past five years, the party has been engaged in various efforts to counter the influence that Chiang has had in the country, including urging the Ministry of Defense to remove statues of him from military bases and proposing the relocation of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The party's Central Standing Committee urged the government last week to quicken the process of correcting the titles of state-owned corporations.

Super Meng (孟義超), director of the DPP's Department of Culture and Information, said yesterday that using national resources to manage the mausoleums did not conform to the principle of transitional justice.

Therefore, the soldiers should be withdrawn and the employment of security guards left to the Chiang family, he said.

Yu is expected to put forth the proposal after Academia Historica President Chang Hsien-yen (張憲炎) delivers a speech to the party's Central Standing Committee about a research report assigning responsibility for the 228 Incident.

In a report published by the 228 Memorial Foundation last year, Chang said that Chiang should be held responsible for the 1947 incident.

In the 228 Incident, conflict between anti-contraband officers and local people led to clashes. Military forces were called in from China, escalating the incident into a nationwide crackdown during which tens of thousands of people were arrested or killed.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday hailed Yu's suggestion when approached by reporters for comment.

"This year is the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident," she said.

"If historical research confirms that Chiang Kai-shek was the prime culprit in the crime, we will have to reconsider spending money on protecting his mausoleum," Lu said.

However, Lu added that she disapproved of taking "drastic measures."

She did not elaborate.

Lee Hung-hsi (李鴻禧), convener of the government's New Constitution Workshop and a mentor of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said that removing the guards was "essential during the nation's pursuit of transitional justice."

"We cannot hold Chiang Kai-shek responsible for the 228 Incident on the one hand while on the other hand regarding him as the nation's savior," he said.

Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑), when approached by reporters at a separate event yesterday, said it was not his place to comment.

"I will simply carry out government policy," he said. "The military belongs to the country, not to any specific political party or any specific individual."

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) yesterday blasted the suggestion, saying that it was "a mean trick by the DPP to manipulate this ideological issue."

John Chiang, a son of the late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), said he would go to Tzuhu today to pay homage to his relatives.

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