Mon, May 21, 2007 - Page 1 News List

KMT to sue minister of education for negligence

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A lone protester raises the national flag in front of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall yesterday.


Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said the party would sue Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) for negligence today over the renaming of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The hall was officially renamed the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (台灣民主紀念館) during a ceremony on Saturday.

Tseng said given that the legislature had not approved the Executive Yuan's request to suspend the law regulating the management of the monument, the name change was illegal.

The Cabinet had requested the legislature to abolish the Organic Law of the CKS Memorial Hall Management (中正紀念堂組織條例) and proposed an administrative order of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall to replace it.

According to the regulations, Cabinet administrative orders are sent to the legislature for reference, rather than approval.

The administrative regulations contradict the organic statute, Tseng said, adding that the Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) allows the legislature to disapprove of administrative regulations should they conflict with the law.

The Ministry of Education is the government organization in charge of the hall.

KMT Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said yesterday the party would ask for a review of the administrative order and would not let it clear the legislature.

"The government totally disregarded procedural justice before the legislature had a chance to review the law and the administrative order," she said.

When approached by the press for comment yesterday, Tu refused to respond to opposition lawmakers' demands, saying that everything had been handled legally.

The Taipei City Government Department of Cultural Affairs said yesterday it had officially requested that the CKS Memorial Hall Management Office remove the banners covering the name signs on the hall, citing the Cultural Heritage Protection Law (文化資產保護法).

When asked to comment on Saturday's ceremony, department director Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) told the press that the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall did not exist because legislation approving the name change was incomplete.

Putting up banners to "publicize something that does not exist" may be illegal, she said, adding that the management office may face a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 under the Cultural Heritage Protection Law.

She was referring to Saturday's unveiling ceremony, during which two huge banners bearing wild lilies as the symbol of the democracy hall were used to cover two sides of the hall building.

Lee added that the management office also closed entrances to the building, where a gigantic statue of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) sits.

In a bid to prevent the CKS Hall from being altered, in March the Taipei City Government classified the 27-year-old memorial hall and its surrounding walls as a temporary historical site.

The Cultural Heritage Protection Law stipulates that a temporary historical site cannot be altered or damaged in any way.

Lee said the city government had been inadvertently caught up in the controversy surrounding the name change, adding that its handling of matters relating to the hall had been consistent.

Any attempt to remove Chiang's statue from the hall would also be illegal because the committee entrusted by the department to review the cultural value of the hall considers the statue part of the building's structure, she added.

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