Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CUPP members’ convictions upheld

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld convictions against China Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) member Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍) and three others for destroying two century-old “lion-dog” statues in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投).

Lee was given four months in prison, while party members Chiu Chin-wei (邱晉芛), Wang Chi-ping (王啟鑌) and Lu Cheng-yuan (呂承遠) were handed jail terms of four months, 70 days and 50 days respectively, commutable to fines.

It was the final ruling and cannot be appealed.

Lee admitted to smashing the two rock statues at the front gate of Sun Yat-sen Elementary School with a sledgehammer on May 28 last year.

The statues are more than 100 years old and of high historic value, Association of Peitou Li Zen officials said.

They were brought from Japan during the 1930s while the Beitou Shinto Shrine and hot spring resorts were being built in the district by the Japanese colonial government, the officials said.

Some local historians have said that the statues could be centuries old, as they might have been brought to Japan from India or Korea along with the Buddhist religion.

Lee and the other defendants argued that they are protected by freedom of speech, as they were expressing their political belief by attempting to remove all vestiges of the Japanese colonial era.

The court rejected their argument, saying that their action is not protected under freedom of speech and constituted destruction of property.

However, the judges also rejected prosecutors’ request for more severe punishment due to the destroyed items’ historic value, saying that the statues were not designated for preservation by the Taipei Archives Committee.

Lee and Chiu in April last year decapitated a bronze statue of Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta, who designed and built the Chianan Irrigation System and the Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) in Tainan to improve agricultural production.

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