Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday warned the public against vandalizing the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) Memorial Hall in Taipei on the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident tomorrow, saying that damaging a national monument is a criminal offense.
“Yesterday ... I saw someone calling on the public to vandalize the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Feb. 28. I must remind people again that the hall was listed as a national monument during my term as Taipei mayor in 2007 and that damaging it is against the law and carries criminal charges,” Hau said on Facebook yesterday.
Urging the Taipei City Police Department to protect the hall and collect evidence should any acts of vandalism occur, he said that no one should be allowed to vent their emotions through the destruction of a building that is not only a landmark but also an ideal place for city residents to rest.
“We should not tolerate any willful destruction of public property that is motivated by self-righteousness, heroism or other ideologies,” he said, calling on Taipei residents to help record acts of vandalism with their cellphones.
Hau made the remarks one day after Free Taiwan Party Chairman Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) on Facebook urged the public to bring down Chiang’s statue in the hall to show that “the culprit responsible for the 228 ethnic massacre is here.”
Tsay was referring to the 228 Incident, in which the then-KMT regime launched a crackdown against civilian demonstrations following an incident in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947. The event marked the beginning of the White Terror era, which saw thousands of Taiwanese arrested, imprisoned and executed.
Separately yesterday, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) blasted the Ministry of Culture’s recent decision to draft a new law for the removal of symbols associated with Chiang as an attempt by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to shift the public focus away from its incompetent governance.
“There are many more issues that need the government’s attention, such as stalled economic growth, frozen cross-strait ties and our nation’s international status. It is extremely disappointing that the DPP administration chose to prioritize the removal of Chiang’s statues and the destruction of the KMT,” Hung said.
As part of the DPP government’s push for transitional justice, the cultural ministry on Saturday announced plans to draft a bill to reinvent the memorial hall, which might include its renaming.
The ministry has also pulled merchandise from souvenir stores in the hall which feature Chiang’s likeness.