Sun, Jan 14, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Architect urges Chiang memorial demolition

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Cheng Tzu-tsai signs a copy of his new book on former president Chiang Ching-kuo at a book launch in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The government should demolish any memorials that are reminiscent of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) past autocracy, including the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwanese architect Cheng Tzu-tsai (鄭自才) said yesterday at a book launch in Taipei.

Cheng introduced his memoir about the failed assassination of then-deputy premier Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in New York on April 24, 1970, while the pan-blue camp was commemorating the 30th anniversary of Chiang’s death at a separate event yesterday.

The assassination attempt was planned and executed by Huang Wen-hsiung (黃文雄), who is Cheng’s brother-in-law, with Cheng as a collaborator.

However, the attempt failed and the two were detained by police on the spot.

“As the assassination attempt took place about 50 years ago, many people nowadays do not know about it,” Cheng said. “Hopefully, this book can help expedite the nation’s realization of transitional justice.”

The memoir, titled To Kill a Dictator: The Attempted Assassination of Chiang Ching-kuo, was coauthored by Cheng and Alliance for Justice in Educational Transformation secretary-general Chang Wen-lung (張文隆).

The authors discuss vignettes in Taiwanese history from 1936 to 1974, including Taiwanese independence movements in the US, the assassination plan, Cheng’s imprisonment in the US and the UK, and his political asylum in Sweden.

Cheng’s memoir ends when he was released on parole from a US prison on Nov. 25, 1974, and left for Sweden to be reunited with his family.

“The perpetrators of political crimes during the White Terror era should undergo legal trials and punishment,” Cheng said.

“The Chiangs’ ghosts linger in Taiwanese society,” which is why former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and others still worship them, he said.

“The nation cannot become truly free and democratic if its transitional justice is not realized,” he said, calling on the government to demolish the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and other symbols of the KMT’s dictatorship.

By introducing the endeavors of Huang and Cheng, Chang said he hopes the book could incite desire to fight for Taiwanese independence.

Documentation about Taiwanese history has largely been based on KMT propaganda that supports a “one China” principle, while the nation needs more historical texts that reflect the truth, said US political activist Linda Gail Arrigo, who was the English-language translator of the book summary.

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