Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday asked the government to stop observing holidays marking late dictator Chiang Kai-shek's (
"Up to this very moment, the anniversaries of his [Chiang's] birth and death are still observed as national holidays, which is absurd," Yu said.
"The anniversary for his death on April 5 is approaching. There is still time for the Cabinet to cancel it as a holiday," he said at a press conference that was held to address the issue.
Chiang was born on Oct. 31, 1887, and died on April 5, 1975.
Yu said that during the autocratic era of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) rule, a dictator's birthday and death date were regarded as "national holidays."
However, as Taiwan is now a completely democratic nation, its people have the right to stop honoring a dictator, Yu said.
Yu is one of four candidates seeking the DPP's nomination for next year's presidential election.
"My proposal has nothing to do with the Chiang family, nothing to do with Chinese `mainlanders' and nothing to do with any other people who are big fans of the Chiang family," he said.
"I simply believe that this issue must be discussed and done," he said.
Yu's rival for the DPP nomination, former premier Frank Hsieh (
Hsieh said he could not agree with Yu's proposal more, but he did not think it was an appropriate time to take action regarding the dictator's legacy.
"Putting a stop to the worship of Chiang is something we must do and something that is right to do," Hsieh said.
"However, I think it is not proper for any presidential candidate to take advantage of this issue as a possible means for self-promotion at this time," he said.
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