Vice-President Annette Lu (
At an election rally in Jhonghe, Lu, the first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweight to criticize Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng's (
"From my observations, the ministry's mishandling of the former CKS Hall issue was a major blow to the party's support over the past few months. Tu must apologize to the public for not handling the matter in a more genteel and agreeable manner," she said.
Lu's comments came after the ministry announced yesterday that the refurbished hall will reopen tomorrow, featuring a special exhibit on the 20 years since the lifting of martial law.
The giant statue of former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) in the main hall will remain, but would not be caged in with steel bars as originally planned, the ministry said.
A ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, instead there would be displays of flying kites, pictures and essays on freedom to signify the nation's emerging democratic values.
The main hall, which has been closed for the last 10 months, houses a 16m high bronze statue of Chiang weighing 76 tonnes. Some of Chiang's teachings are inscribed on the marble walls in gold inlay.
The ministry had originally planned to surround the statue with steel bars, signifying that Chiang should have been incarcerated for his actions. Pictures and stories of 228 Incident victims were to have been hung on the bars.
The ministry had also planned to erect a "wailing wall," similar to the one in Jerusalem used by the Jews to mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple, to allow family members of victims of Chiang's regime to pay respects to their loved ones.
The proposal, however, angered some families, who said it would offend the millions of people who still regard Chiang as a great man.
The president of the 228 Memorial Foundation Chen Chin-huang (
Tu on Friday sad the ministry respected the wishes of the foundation, which has been commissioned to undertake the project.
Visitors to the hall can also see an exhibit on Taiwan's human rights movement, chronicling milestones in the nation's maturing democracy. Poems, music and garments from the Chiang era will also be displayed so visitors can get an inside look at life during the martial law period.
In response to Lu, Ministry of Education Secretary-General Chuang Kuo-jung (
"The hall will reopen [tomorrow]. Let the public decide whether the MOE made the right moves or not," he told the Taipei Times by telephone.
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