Mon, Mar 02, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Rash of ‘defacements’ hits Chiang Kai-shek statues

FREE SPEECH?Some local governments said they would file charges in the incidents, while at least one university said ‘vandalism’ would be handled per school regulations

By Stacy Hsu, Chang Ching-ya and Tsai Shu-yuan  /  Staff reporters

A headless and badly damaged statue of former president Chiang Kai-shek stands on a plinth in Shihciouling Park in Keelung yesterday.

Photo: Wu Cheng-feng, Taipei Times

An unusually high number of protests targeting statues of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) have been reported across the nation in the wake of the 68th anniversary of the 228 Incident on Saturday.

A statue of Chiang erected in Taichung City’s Jhongjheng Park (中正公園) was found yesterday morning covered with white and red paint as well as ghost money, with the Chinese characters for “killer” and “villain” spray-painted on its pedestal.

Police said it was the second defacement of the stone statue in two days. On Saturday morning, it was discovered with the Chinese character for “murderer” spray-painted on its base. City workers removed the graffiti later that day.

Taichung’s Construction Bureau director Huang Yu-lin (黃玉霖) said the agency has teamed up with the city’s Education Bureau in investigating if other statues of Chiang have been vandalized.

The city government said that just four of the city’s approximately 400 parks have statues of Chiang and that it would consider whether to keep or relocate them once the investigation has been concluded.

It said no charges would be filed against whoever is responsible, as the spray-painted slogans are considered to be equivalent to stains, but that police presence in the areas involved would be increased.

Meanwhile, in northern Taiwan, a beheaded statue of Chiang depicted in two photographs posted on a Facebook page titled “Indefinite Support to Art Installations Featuring Chiang” (無限期支持—全台裝置藝術蔣) on Saturday has been confirmed to be located in a park in Keelung.

Investigators said the fiberglass-based statue’s head was smashed to pieces, and the statue’s torso and ankles were damaged. They added that the perpetrators apparently attempted to knock the sculpture down before realizing that its legs are made of steel and concrete.

Statues of Chiang erected within Taoyuan’s Jhongjheng Park and in front of the Taoyuan Railway Station were also vandalized.

In addition, sculptures of Chiang on campuses nationwide have been defaced over the past few days, including ones at Taipei First Girls’ High School, Taipei Municipal Daan Vocational High School, National Chutung Senior High School, Tunghai University and National Taipei University of Technology.

Tunghai University chief secretary Lu Ping-kuan (呂炳寬) said the school’s statue of Chiang and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall have existed for nearly three decades and carry historical significance to the university.

“While the school respects students’ opinions and is open to discussions regarding the hall’s renaming and the statue’s removal, they must be expressed in a rational manner,” Lu said, adding that vandalism would be dealt with in accordance with school regulations.

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