Tue, Mar 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Tainan KMT city councilors label mayor a terrorist

CHIANG KAI-SHEK:The city councilors called Tainan Mayor William Lai’s removal of controversial statues ‘too secretive,’ and similar to the Islamic State

By Tsai Wen-chu, Hung Jui-chin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Tainan city councilors yesterday panned the city government’s removal of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) statues from 14 junior-high and elementary schools in the municipality on Saturday, branding Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) a “terrorist” and calling him “Emperor Lai.”

KMT city councilors Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福), Wang Chia-chen (王家貞) and Tsai Shu-hui (蔡淑惠) said at a news conference in Tainan that the removal was arbitrarily executed without regard or respect for the schools’ autonomy, adding that Lai’s decision fostered further conflict between members of the pan-green and pan-blue camps.

Having the statues wrapped in white cloth prior to removal made them resemble mummies, the councilors said, comparing Lai to the extremist Islamic State group, which has destroyed historical artifacts in Iraq.

The city councilors called the operation “too secretive,” as the schools were not notified of the removals in advance.

In response, Lai said the decision to remove the statues was not made on a whim, as it was announced on Feb. 28 while he was attending a memorial event to mark the 228 Incident.

The statues were removed in the interests of transitional justice, Lai said, adding that schools are intended to be places to pass knowledge on to students.

“Schools should not be places promoting political adoration, especially the adoration of Chiang,” Lai said.

The removals were conducted over the weekend to minimize class disruptions, he said, adding that the workers wrapped the statues to protect them from damage.

Opposing opinions are inevitable when a mayor decides to do something, he said, adding that he would gladly listen if such opinions were constructive, but that he would not be baited by aggressive commentary seeking to mislead the public.

Separately yesterday, in response to a question posed by Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lai Chen-chang (賴振昌), Minister of Culture Hung Meng-chi (洪孟啟) said that each statue has its own history, and he urged the nation to refrain from thinking politically about the statues.

When Lai Chen-chang further inquired as to whether the presence of Chiang’s statues in school campuses was itself a political consideration, Hung said that “has its own historical background.”

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