Mon, Nov 01, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Chen tells veterans that both Chiangs to get state burial

STAFF WRITER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that the government would follow the State Funeral Law (國葬法) in burying the late presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國). Though the move has widespread support, it's opposed by some pro-independence legislators who believe a state burial is unnecessary because lavish state funerals have already been held for both.

"To have both late presidents Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo buried in Taiwan is the Chiang family's wish, and we should respect that," Chen said while attending an event hosted by the Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek's 118th birthday yesterday.

The two Chiangs have for decades laid embalmed in temporary mausoleums. This July, Chiang Ching-kuo's widow, Faina Chiang Fang-liang (蔣方良) requested that they be buried in the military mausoleum on Wuchihshan.

Chen said that "for the sake of national unity and social harmony, I'd like to call on these people to be more tolerant and respectful."

He clarified that the current state burial of the State Funeral Law is very simple and solemn.

"According to current rules, the flag will be lowered to half-mast only on the day of the state funeral; flags will not be lowered to half-mast for 30 consecutive days nor will there be any suspension of entertainment events for 30 days," Chen said.

He was alluding to the ceremonial funeral which took place when Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975, during which public observances of the death included a period during which all TV programs were changed to air only in black and white, and flags were lowered to half-mast for nearly a month.

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) yesterday criticized Chen for his remarks, saying they were aimed at securing veterans' votes in favor of the Democratic Progressive Party in the December legislative elections.

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