Sat, Dec 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Inventory identifies 1,083 Chiang Kai-shek monuments

By Chen Yu-fu  /  Staff reporter

Employees install a bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek that formerly stood in Yilan City’s Jhongshan Park at the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park in Taoyuan’s Dasi District on Feb. 28 last year.

Photo courtesy of the Yilan City Office

Symbols of the Martial Law era and the former autocratic Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime still abound, with 1,083 bronze statues of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) located throughout Taiwan, an investigation by the Transitional Justice Commission showed.

In July, the commission issued an order to local governments to make an inventory of authoritarian symbols in public spaces.

It found that there are still 1,214 monuments depicting Chiang and his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), most of which are bronze statues.

Of the 1,083 statues owned by government offices, the highest concentration is in Taipei, with 129 statues, followed by 98 in Taichung and 83 in Kaohsiung, the commission said.

The largest statue is the one at Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The commission said that worshiping Chiang Kai-shek as a “great leader” continues to this day, with statues adorning places such as the Taiwan Police Academy, the National Immigration Agency and the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau.

The Veterans’ Affairs Agency and residences for retired veterans under the agency’s management house 46 Chiang Kai-shek statues, the commission said.

The inventory showed that 557 public spaces in Taiwan were named in memory of Chiang and his son, including 247 streets and roads were named “Zhongzheng” (中正), one of Chiang Kai-shek’s names.

The commission said the tradition of naming roads after Chiang Kai-shek started when the now-defunct Taiwan Provincial Executive Office in 1945 ordered all Japanese-sounding street and road names to be changed and instructed that priority be given to commemorate “the nation’s great figures,” which led to “Zhongzheng” roads and streets appearing in most municipalities.

Many statues of Chiang Kai-shek were erected following his death in 1975, after the KMT government issued a policy to erect statues for his “eternal veneration.”

When Chiang Ching-kuo died in 1988, the government amended the law to add his image and portraits to official policy to commemorate the nation’s deceased leaders.

This is the first time the government has conducted a comprehensive inventory of authoritarian symbols, the commission said, adding that it found a total of 145 schools nationwide named after Chiang Kai-shek or Chiang Ching-kuo, or 26 percent of all schools.

Officials said the report showed that the Chiang political cult still abounds throughout Taiwan even three decades after the lifting of Martial Law.

Cross-ministerial meetings and negotiations are necessary to remove or rename symbols of past KMT authoritarian rule, the officials said.

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