Sun, Mar 17, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers mull memorial change

BREAKING FROM THE PAST A KMT legislator plans to propose an amendment next week to rename the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as the `President Memorial Hall'

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

To try to diminish the political representation of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a KMT lawmaker plans to propose an amendment next week that would rename the building "President Memorial Hall," where all ROC presidents would be remembered after they pass away.

Lawmaker Huang Ter-fu (黃德福) said the idea was inspired by a recent proposal to build another memorial for the late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) raised by KMT lawmaker John Chang (章孝嚴), Chiang Ching-kuo's illegitimate son.

Huang said he does not think Chang's proposal is feasible in light of the difficulty in acquiring a site for the building.

The problem would only be exacerbated if every president is to have a memorial, Huang said.

While gathering the presidents' artifacts at one place will facilitate the comprehensive preservation of the collections, renaming the hall would also depoliticize it, Huang said.

He also said that there is no guarantee that the TSU, which has recently played up a string of controversial issues in order to capture media attention, will not one day use the issue to attack the KMT.

Under these circumstances, it would be better for the KMT to take a preemptive move, Huang proposed.

KMT legislative caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) yesterday said the caucus will contact Huang to get a better idea of Huang's proposal before making a decision on whether to support it.

Lin said every lawmaker enjoys the right to raise a legislative proposal, but it is not commendable if the purpose for doing so is to put on a political show.

Unlike Lin, who took a cautious attitude toward the issue, many lawmakers expressed approval for Huang's proposal.

KMT lawmaker Shyh Jong-shyong (徐中雄) said that Taiwan should stop glorifying its dictatorial past and that the hall should pay homage to the nation's legacy of democracy.

DPP lawmaker Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said the site of the memorial hall would be an ideal one for relocating the Legislative Yuan because it is close to the Executive Yuan and has a spacious square where people can stage demonstrations.

However, Lin said Huang's idea is also acceptable.

TSU lawmaker Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) praised Huang's proposal as one that is consistent with Taiwan's present constitutional framework.

Chen further suggested removing the bodies of the two late presidents from their mausoleums in Tzuhu and Touliao and having them buried so that the sites could be opened to the public for other purposes.

John Chang, however, is against the proposal, arguing the nation's two late presidents enjoy a different historical status from other presidents.

Though it would be convenient to exhibit all the presidents' artifacts at what is now the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, doing so would not serve to remember a head of state who had contributed a great deal to the country, Chang said.

Echoing Chang's opinion, PFP lawmaker Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) said other countries usually do not remember all of their presidents, but rather only build memorials for those who make outstanding contributions to their nations.

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