Sun, Mar 30, 2008 - Page 3 News List

DPP advises Ma to rethink plan to restore old names

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials yesterday advised president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against restoring names the DPP government had abolished.

The DPP government had changed the name of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall and replaced the inscription dazhong zhizheng (大中至正) on the gate of the hall with "Liberty Square" last May as part of its "de-Chiang campaign," aimed at erasing symbols of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

"Illegally changing the name of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was ill-mannered and was, of course, invalid," Ma was quoted as saying in an interview with the Chinese-language China Times published yesterday.

The name-change lacked legitimacy because the DPP government amended the Organic Statute of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂組織條例) despite opposition, Ma said in the interview, adding that he would restore the names after soliciting opinions from different groups.

Ma added that he would not make the change if the public supports the new names.

Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) voiced his disapproval yesterday.

"Replacing the inscription of dazhong zhizheng with Liberty Square was a collective consensus," he said. "The new government should keep this in mind and refrain from causing unnecessary ethnic conflicts and creating an unnecessary authoritarian symbol."

"There is no room for doubt that the DPP government had followed the law in changing the names. The names were changed after all legal procedures were completed," he said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) called on Ma to live up to the promise he had made during the campaign that he would set aside ideological issues.

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