Fri, Dec 22, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Four avoid charges over Chiang statue vandalism

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Four people suspected of vandalizing a statue of Chiang Kai-shek at Fu Jen Catholic University are escorted by police at the Sinjhuang Police Station in New Taipei City on Feb. 28, the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident.

Photo: CNA

Prosecutors yesterday declined to file charges against four people suspected of vandalizing a statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at Fu Jen Catholic University earlier this year.

After completing its investigation, the New Taipei City District Prosecutors’ Office said there would be no charges filed against the four suspects, three of whom are university students, over the vandalism on Feb. 28, the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident.

Investigators said that on Feb. 28, a dozen people gathered on the university’s campus with a portable electric grinder and hand tools to deface the statue.

Bystanders called the police, who arrived after the group had broken off the bronze statue’s cane, the investigators said, adding that a confrontation ensued after police tried to stop the group, with both sides later saying they sustained minor cuts and bruises.

Police apprehended four people and sought to press charges of obstructing an officer in discharge of their duties.

However, prosecutors yesterday said the charges were dropped because the four were not violent and did not resist arrest.

Investigators quoted one of the students, surnamed Lo (羅), as saying during questioning that “the statue of Chiang Kai-shek symbolizes the past authoritarian dictatorship. It should not continue to stand inside schools. We just wanted to remove it.”

Separately yesterday, a statue of Chiang at Zhongzheng Senior High School in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) was found decapitated and covered with the slogan “No removal, no name change; then it is decapitation” written in white paint.

School officials called the police after learning of the incident in the morning.

There has been a campaign by local residents and pro-Taiwan civic groups calling for the school’s original name, Shilin High School, to be restored.

The then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime mandated the name change in 1975 to commemorate Chiang, who died earlier that year. Zhongzheng (中正) is the adulatory name used by the cult of personality that worships Chiang.

Local residents have cited the current name’s political connotations when lending their support to the campaign, and many still refer to the school by its old name.

Taipei police said they dispatched a forensics team to gather evidence and examine surveillance camera footage of the incident.

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