Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei asserts authority over hall

WHOSE MEMORIAL? The Chinese Nationalist Party legislative caucus condenmned the CCA's decision to designate the hall and surrounding park a historic site

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday asserted its authority over the management of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall following the Council of Cultural Affairs' decision on Tuesday to designate the hall and its surrounding park a historic site.

Citing the Cultural Heritage Preservation Law (文化資產保護法), Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said the central and local governments must agree on the declaration of a historic site.

"The Cultural Affairs Council's decision shows it supports the city government's move and that what we've done is right," Hau said at Taipei City Hall.

The city government designated the hall as a municipal historic site in March after the central government said it would tear down the walls surrounding the memorial.

"The move will not affect the review of the site by the city's cultural heritage committee and the hall's status as a temporary municipal historic site will not change until next March," Teng Wen-tsung (鄧文宗), a division chief at Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs said.

Teng said the city government had the authority and obligation to manage the hall regardless of its status and urged the central government to focus its effort on improving the economy.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday also condemned the council for making the democracy hall a historic site.

At a press conference, KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government had "double standards" in handling the hall because it previously criticized the Taipei City Government's proposal to designate the hall as a municipal historic site.

"The DPP laughed at and questioned the city government's proposal, saying that the hall was too young to be counted as a historic site. But the Council for Cultural Affairs suddenly says it is a national monument. What are the criteria?" Kuo said.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), however, yesterday supported the designation of the monument as a historic site.

He said in Keelung that it would simplify the government's effort to change the name of the complex.

Chen said he thought the square by the monument should be called "Liberty Square."

It is fine to keep the bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) in the hall, Chen said, adding that it would serve as a reminder of the authoritarian era and prevent the nation from repeating its mistakes.

Chen said he would respect the memorial museum's decision on whether to keep the statue.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling and Flora Wang

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