It has been two years since it was first reported that the national designation on a statue of Hsu Shih-hsien (許世賢) in Jhungjheng Park, Chiayi, was “China (中國)” and that one of Hsu’s daughter, former interior minister Chang Po-ya (張博雅), said she felt that was inappropriate and should be changed to Republic of China (ROC).
Although the Chiayi City Government has yet to take action in accordance with Chang’s wishes, it was recently found that someone had covered the word “China” with bubble gum.
Jhungjheng Park is filled with the busts of celebrities and well-known people from around the world, with plaques that introduce each individual’s nationality and achievements.
Hsu Shih-hsien was the first Taiwanese woman to earn a PhD in medicine, the nation’s first female mayor and one of the first female high-school principals
Having established the Hsu family political clan in Chiayi, Hsu Shih-hsien was also very active in politics, having been a Taiwan provincial assemblywoman for more than 15 years.
Local residents have complained for years that the plaque on the statue erroneously designated Hsu as coming from China.
In explanation, city officials said that when the statue was first unveiled in 1988, many people in Taiwan referred to themselves as Chinese when introduced to people of other nationalities. As such, the plaque was not technically in error. It is just that over time people have grown accustomed to referring to themselves as Taiwanese with the ROC as their nationality.
Hsu’s other daughter, former Chiayi City mayor Chang Wen-ying (張文英), said that at the time the ROC was referred to as “China” for short, adding that the statue was a donation and so whether the inscription should be changed had to be decided by the donor.
However, “the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] should change its name to the Taiwanese Nationalist Party, or others might think that the KMT is in China,” Chang said jokingly.
City official Chen Yu-jen (陳育仁) said that the issue should be put on hold for the moment owing to its political sensitivity, not to mention the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in January. However, he did undertake to pass on the information to his superiors.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer