Statues of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) yesterday were defaced around the nation, including in Yilan, Nantou and Miaoli counties, in apparent acts of protest coinciding with 228 Memorial Day.
In Yilan City, slogans that read “Taiwan’s Hitler” and “Culprit of 228” were sprayed in red on a statue of Chiang in the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park, while “China’s Founding Father” was sprayed on the park’s statue of Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙).
In Nantou’s Jhongsing New Village (中興新村), a statue of Chiang was covered with a white cloth cut to resemble a shroud.
A statue of Chiang in a Miaoli City parking lot was also defaced. A box, on which “Apologize” was written, was placed over the statue’s head, while a board hung from its neck read “Murderer.”
Vandalism of monuments honoring historical figures of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been common in recent years on 228 Memorial Day, a day dedicated to the remembrance of the 228 Incident — an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, which was violently suppressed by the KMT government, marking the beginning of the White Terror era.
This year’s vandalism was preceded by public criticism of Chiang and Sun by academics last week.
Historian and Academia Sinica associate research fellow Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深) said that Chiang should no longer be commemorated in the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, because he bore “primary responsibility” for the Incident.
A panel of historians, including National Chengchi University Graduate Institute of Taiwan History director Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), criticized the public veneration of Sun as party-state dogma and called for the abolition of laws that require the president and legislators to salute Sun’s portrait at inauguration ceremonies and at the start of legislative sessions.
A netizen who goes by the name “Shih Yu-Ming” on Facebook claimed responsibility for the defacement of the Chiang’s statue in Nantou and posted an image of the shrouded figure early yesterday morning with a caption that read: “You had no time for contrition, so I helped by covering you with this shroud for 228.”
Miaoli Mayor Chiu Ping-kun (邱炳坤) said that vandalism should not be used to express grievances or opinions about Chiang, adding that the city had sent work crews to clean the statue.
Although the Miaoli Police Bureau said that it is trying to identify the perpetrators of the defacement, the city government said it would not file charges “for the moment,” the Chinese-Language Apple Daily said.
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