Sat, Oct 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT blocks bill on renaming civil orders

IMPROPER:DPP Legislator Tsai Yi-yu said naming the highest civilian honor after Chiang Kai-shek’s mother is inappropriate, as she made no contribution to Taiwan

By Chen Yu-fu  /  Staff reporter

A draft amendment by the New Power Party (NPP) that seeks to rename some of the nation’s highest commendations to remove authoritarian symbols yesterday failed to enter committee review due to a boycott by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus.

That was the fourth time the KMT caucus has blocked the draft amendment to the Medals Act (勳章條例) from entering committee review since it was first submitted by NPP Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lu Sun-ling (呂孫綾) on Sept. 22.

Through the proposed amendment, the pan-green lawmakers seek to rename honorary civilian orders that are reminiscent of the past party-state system to appellations more representative of contemporary Taiwan.

The five orders, in descending order of importance, are the Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon (采玉大勳章), the Order of Dr Sun Yat-sen with Grand Cordon (中山勳章), the Order of Chiang Chung-cheng with Grand Cordon (中正勳章), the Order of Propitious Clouds (勳雲勳章) and the Order of Brilliant Star (景星勳章).

The Order of Brilliant Jade, which reads caiyu in Mandarin, was named after Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣中正) mother, Wang Tsai-yu (王采玉), and can only be presented by the president or an emissary to the head of state of a foreign nation.

The Order of Dr Sun Yat-sen and the Order of Chiang Chung-cheng were named after Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) and Chiang respectively. Chiang Chung-cheng is a less commonly used romanization of Chiang’s name.

The bill proposes renaming the Order of Brilliant Jade to Jade Mountain, Taiwan’s highest mountain, and the Order of Dr Sun Yat-sen to Black Tide (黑潮), the Kuroshio Current that flows northward along the nation’s eastern coast, which the lawmakers said has nurtured the nation.

It also suggests abolishing the Order of Chiang Chung-cheng.

The names of those three orders were apparently influenced by political ideology, Lim said.

“Chiang was a controversial dictator, while his mother had nothing to do with Taiwan, nor was she Taiwanese,” Lim said, adding that an order named after such a “stranger” cannot represent the nation.

The KMT will only grow more out of sync with society if it continues to dwell on the past and block efforts to rid the nation of outdated laws that should have ended with the former authoritarian regime, he added.

DPP Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) said the DPP caucus has thrown its support behind the draft amendment, as it is inappropriate for the government’s highest civilian honor to be named after someone who has made no contribution to the nation’s defense and diplomatic development, and who carried no significance to ordinary Taiwanese.

“We also plan to pass a draft transitional justice promotion act in the current legislative session to help remove other lingering authoritarian symbols from the nation,” Tsai said.

DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said the civilian orders do not necessarily have to carry the name of a specific individual, adding that since Taiwan has become democratized, changes must be made to past authoritarian practices.

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