Tue, May 29, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Name-change sparks spat in legislature

OVERHEATED Pan-green and pan-blue legislators scuffled in a committee meeting as the opposition listened to the government's explanation of the renaming process

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Sun Ta-chien, left, and Tseng Yung-chuan, center, argue with Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Sing-nan during a meeting of the Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday concerning the renaming of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall.

PHOTO: CNA

The bickering over the government's name-change campaign boiled over in the legislature yesterday, as an official invited to a legislative committee meeting who identified himself as working at the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall was dismissed for having questionable credentials.

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), who chaired yesterday's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee meeting, asked Tseng Sang-jin (曾燦金), deputy director of the former Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂), to leave the meeting because Tseng had written "deputy director of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall" as his position on the meeting's sign-up sheet.

"We did not invite anyone from the Democracy Memorial Hall and we do not recognize such an institution. Get out!" Lu said, pounding on the desk. "Do you want me to call security to throw you out?"

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Sing-Nan (王幸男) escorted Tseng from the meeting, saying "let's leave here with dignity."

Wang then returned to the meeting and engaged in a slanging match with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sun Ta-Chien (孫大千). Sun accused Tseng of disrespecting the legislature and said that Wang was a disgrace to his constituency.

Wang then called Sun a wang ba dan (王八蛋), or "asshole," and said Chiang, a murderer, did not deserve a hall to commemorate his brutal rule.

Sun replied by saying that a bomber did not deserve to serve in the legislature.

Wang sent a parcel bomb to the former vice president and Taiwan provincial governor, Hsieh Tung-min (謝東閔), in 1966 that blew off both of Hsieh's hands.

The two almost got into a fight but were pulled apart by KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權).

Vice Minister of Education Chou Tsan-der (周燦德) argued that the ministry was legally entitled to change the administrative status of the hall.

While the legislature is in the process of reviewing the abolition of the law governing CKS Memorial Hall, Chou said the ministry was authorized by law to draw up a new organizational code for the Democracy Memorial Hall. The committee has threatened to block the cancelation of the law.

Regarding the hall's budget, Chou said the Cabinet secretary-general last Tuesday agreed to let the Democracy Memorial Hall use the budget that was earmarked for CKS Memorial Hall.

Chou said that the hall's new signs were put up in accordance with the law and they were not advertisements in nature. The canvas sheet covering the name plate of CKS Memorial Hall was not an advertisement either, he said, nor did it violate the Cultural Heritage Protection Law (文化資產保護法).

While the Taipei City Government took down the canvas sheets and issued fines to the ministry for "harming the public interest," Chou said they would file a grievance complaint and seek nullification of the city's decision.

Chou yesterday, however, conceded that the CKS Memorial Hall and Democracy Memorial Hall co-exist from a legal point of view, but emphasized the organization of CKS Memorial Hall itself had ceased to exist.

Yeh Ching-Yuan (葉慶元), chairman of the city's Law and Regulation Commission, dismissed Chou's arguments as "false" and questioned whether the ministry's move was intended to help the DPP win votes in the upcoming elections.

KMT Legislator Hung Shiu-chu (洪秀柱) described the ministry as "audacious" while saying Chou was "dishonest" and "slick."

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