Thu, Mar 15, 2007 - Page 2 News List

KMT, DPP at odds over Kaohsiung's CKS center

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Kaohsiung City Government's removal of a statue of late dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) from the city's culture center on Tuesday night resulted not only in conflict between the police and pan-blue supporters, but also between pan-green and pan-blue legislators yesterday.

Following the passage of a draft bill to amend the Organic Regulations Concerning the Bureau of Cultural Affairs of the Kaohsiung City Government (高雄市政府文化局組織規程) in a meeting on Tuesday morning, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) issued an administrative order to the city's Bureau of Culture Affairs on Tuesday afternoon.

As a result, the Chiang Kai-shek Culture Center was renamed Kaohsiung City Culture Center. In accordance with the Local Government Act (地方制度法), the name change did not require the approval of the city council.

More than 400 police officers were called in to maintain order while the bureau set to work removing Chiang's statue and replacing the center's nameplate on Tuesday evening.

Angry pan-blue city councilors, legislators and supporters were kept at bay by police barricades while members of the bureau completed their task. Chiang's statue was segmented for removal and a board that read "Always Remember Our Leader" was also taken down.

The clashes between demonstrators and the police continued through yesterday morning.

Chen refused to say where Chiang's statue would be stored, but said it would not be destroyed.

The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Kaohsiung City Council caucus issued a statement late on Tuesday night and saying that the city government should not attempt to deny the historical importance of Chiang and his contribution to the nation.

The DPP caucus, meanwhile, said that those who were opposed to the changes should "allow the culture center to be purely dedicated to cultural activities."

DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧) told a press conference that the changes were in keeping with the tenets of transitional justice.

DPP Legislator Lin Su-shan (林樹山) said that other nations usually put statues of great artists in their culture centers. Since Chiang was not an artist, his statue did not belong in the culture center, Lin said.

KMT lawmakers called on the public to participate in a demonstration planned to take place at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on March 31.

KMT Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said the DPP deserved the harshest condemnation for wooing voters at the expense of provoking ethnic conflict.

"There is a culture center in remembrance of the late US president John F. Kennedy and a culture center in memory of the late French president Francois Mitterrand," said KMT Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), grandson of Chiang Kai-shek. "Why can't we have a culture center commemorating a Taiwanese politician?"

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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