Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

National Taiwan Democracy Hall made historic site

PROTECTED The main building bears both the new name and the `Chiang Kai-shek Memorial,' as the legislature has been unable to agree on the new name

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Cultural Affairs yesterday officially designated National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall and its surrounding park a historic site, saying the plaza, the exhibit hall and the main building were all protected under the new provision.

Council Chairwoman Weng Chin-chu (翁金珠) said the hall has become a significant location for activists and protesters. The decision to make it a historic site is part of the government's efforts to preserve the country's culture, she said.

"Since the lifting of martial law 20 years ago, many human rights demonstrations have taken place here. The ground has become a symbol of the nation's democratic movement," she said.

The hall, formerly known as Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial, has been a source of contention between the central government and the Taipei City Government since May, when the Democratic Progressive Party proposed to rename the building, which had been naming after the dictator.

The Taipei City Government argued it had jurisdiction over the hall, adding that the Executive Yuan did not have the right to unilaterally change the name without receiving permission from the city government.

In an bid to block the name change, the city government petitioned to turn CKS Memorial Hall into a national historic site, which would have prevented anything related to the hall from being altered, including its name.

At the moment, the main building bears both names, as the legislature has been unable to reach a consensus on ratifying the new name.

A Ministry of Education official said yesterday that although the name issue remains unresolved, it does not affect the decision of turning the park and its building into a historical site.

The National Concert Hall, the National Theater and the ground's signature blue-trimmed white walls were not included in the provision.

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