Tue, Nov 16, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Tombs for Chiangs will be complete by June, MND says

TAIPEI , CNA

Tombs for the late President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son and successor Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in Taipei County are scheduled to be completed by late June, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.

The MND's Bureau of Armament and Acquisition (BAA) said that after many twists and turns, the process of bidding and contract operations for the tombs have finally been completed.

Geographical surveys will next have to be carried out to ensure soil conservation, while at the same time, design work will be done and approval obtained from the families of the two late presidents.

The widow of Chiang Ching-kuo sent a letter to the MND early this year asking it to help with the relocation of the two Chiangs -- who are embalmed in interim mausoleums in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan -- to the Wutzushan military cemetery in Hsichih, Taipei County, for permanent interment.

After the approval of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the MND, the Ministry of the Interior and various other government agencies began to plan for the relocation and burial in line with the state funeral law. The BAA was in charge of the bidding and contracting operations.

These failed several times, and there were also heated debates on whether to have state funerals for the two Chiangs, before the issue was finally hammered out.

It is understood that the MND's Combined Logistics Command, which is in charge of the Wutzushan military cemetery, known for its serene and beautiful views, offered three sites, sized 950, 1,200 and 250 pings. The two larger plots are on hilly terrain and pose difficulties in construction, while the smaller one is on flatter ground, and is the one chosen by the families.

Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing to the Mao Zedong (毛澤東) -led communist party in a bloody civil war. He died in 1975.

Chiang ruled Taiwan with an iron fist, using martial law to suppress democracy.

Chiang Ching-kuo is respected for ending martial law in 1987, shortly before his death, thus unleashing the democratic forces that broke his family's firm grip on power and eventually ended the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) half-century of rule over Taiwan. He died in 1988.

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