The government has decided to remove a plaque bearing the name “National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall” from the main building of the hall and would reinstate the “Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall” plaque in July, Minister Without Portfolio Ovid Tseng (曾志朗) said on Thursday.
The decision was made after coordination meetings between different government branches, Tseng said.
As for the inscription on the memorial hall’s entry arch, the Ministry of Education said yesterday it would hold three public forums next month to discuss whether to reinstate the four-character inscription, dazhong zhizheng (大中至正), which means “great neutrality and perfect uprightness.”
Participants at the forums will include academics and experts, while elected representatives and government officials will be excluded from the meetings, the ministry said.
Tseng said the government would not replace the “Liberty Square” inscription at the hall entrance until after gauging public opinion on the matter during the ministry-sponsored forums.
The hall has been the subject of dispute between pan-blues and pan-greens over the years. In 2007, the then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration renamed the memorial National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall as part of its efforts to remove symbols commemorating dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
The DPP government also changed the inscription dazhong zhizheng to “Liberty Square” (自由廣場) and redecorated the hall. The move drew protests from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-dominated legislature, which blasted the government for failing to put it through a legislative vote.
With the KMT regaining power last year, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) in August instructed the Executive Yuan to withdraw from the legislature a proposal to abolish the Organic Statute of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂組織條例).
During the review of the central government’s budget request for the current fiscal year in January, the KMT-controlled legislature passed a resolution stating that “the name of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall shall be changed to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.”