Mon, Aug 18, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ministry mum on talk of democracy hall name change

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education kept a low profile yesterday after a media report said it was planning to change the name of the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall back to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

Chu Nan-hsien (朱楠賢), the director-general of the Department of Social Education, which supervises the hall, said that before the ministry makes budget requests for the next fiscal year, it would only address regulations related to the hall.

Chu was referring to the Organic Statute of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂組織條例), which the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government had sought to abolish before changing the hall’s name to Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall on May 19 last year.

However, the legislature did not approve the then-Cabinet’s proposal to abolish the statute. It also blocked another organic statute of the democracy hall proposed by the Cabinet.

Asked if the ministry would remove every plaque in the hall that bore the title “Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall,” Chu said the ministry was still deliberating the matter.

Chu made the comment in response to a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday that said the Cabinet was expected to pass a proposal to abolish the proposed organic statute of the Taiwan Democratic Memorial Hall this week, while retracting the former DPP Cabinet’s proposal to the Legislative Yuan that sought to abolish the Organic Statute of CKS Memorial Hall.

The story said the ministry would replace all democracy hall plaques with Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaques.

The story quoted an unidentified Cabinet official as saying that the move would be completed before the fall legislative session begins next month. The story said the Cabinet and the ministry, however, planned to keep the "Liberty Square" inscription on the gate of the hall rather than restoring the original dazhong zhizheng (大中至正) inscription as a gesture of reconciliation and coexistence with the different political views in Taiwan.

The inscription was removed on Dec. 6, leading to clashes between pan-blue and pan-green supporters in front of the hall. A TV cameraman was run over by a small truck and seriously injured during the standoff.

Cabinet Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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