The Cabinet yesterday officially named the newly completed Taipei-Ilan freeway the "Chiang Wei-shui [蔣渭水] Memorial Freeway" in line with a proposal by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
"Chiang was Taiwan's nationalist pioneer and a person who inspired the value of democracy. He was also an Ilan native. It is a good idea to name this freeway after him," said Government Information Office Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (
"Mayor Ma, who proposed this idea, said he affirmed and appreciated this decision as well," Cheng said.
On Jan. 15, Ma and Ilan County Commissioner Lu Kuo-hua (呂國華) first proposed that the freeway be named the "Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway" because Chiang was an Ilan native as well as a trailblazer for Taiwan's democracy movement under Japanese rule.
In the 1920s, Chiang set up the Taiwan National Council and the Taiwan People's Party, the first political parties to be established in Taiwan. He was also the first person to seek to improve the status of Taiwanese during the Japanese occupation through the establishment of a democracy movement.
Cheng said Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) decided to make public the official name of the freeway because it will be opened to the public tomorrow.
Cheng also described the freeway as connecting technology, history and civilization.
"[The freeway] begins from Nangang, Taipei City, and goes through Pinglin, Taipei County, and then eventually enters Ilan County. We have high-tech industries in Nangang, famous tea production in Pinglin and historical sites in Ilan," Cheng said.
On behalf of the premier, Cheng expressed gratitude to the technicians, architects and workers who devoted themselves to the construction of the freeway as well as its controversial Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道), which has become the fifth-longest tunnel in the world.
"On June 16, we will be very proud to prove wrong those who said that it would be impossible for us to finish the tunnel," Cheng said.