Tue, Apr 02, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Zhongzheng Road count expected to end by September

By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Chiang Kai-shek statue at Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park in Taoyuan is pictured on March 11.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Transitional Justice Commission plans to complete its survey of roads named “Zhongzheng” (中正) — a name adopted by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) — by September, it said on Saturday.

It wants to establish the number of roads nationwide with names symbolic of the nation’s authoritarian past, as well as the history behind the names.

The survey is being conducted in accordance with the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), which establishes the illegality of symbolism commemorating the authoritarian period in public spaces, and requires such symbols to be removed, it said.

The authoritarian-era Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government credited Chiang as the “savior of the Chinese race” and renamed numerous roads Zhongzheng as a way of having his name regularly spoken by the public, the committee said.

One of the most notable examples is Pingtung’s main street.

The road had long been nicknamed Coconut Grove Avenue (椰林大道) for the trees that line it on both sides, which give it a tropical island feel, but renaming it was done to evoke images of the then-president, the commission said.

Several other main roads around the nation were similarly renamed, including those in what is now New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang District (新莊), Houlong Township (後龍) in Miaoli County and Magong on Penghu, it said.

The government does not have complete records on the renamed roads, so the commission said it asked outside experts to assist it.

The commission last year began a survey of national parks to determine the number and location of statues of Chiang, and the road survey is a continuation of those efforts, it said.

Information provided by Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) showed that there are 152 Chiang statues in the three branches of the military’s various facilities, it said.

Meanwhile, the issue of the huge statue at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei has temporarily been put on hold, it said.

The Veteran Affairs Council and the Ministry of National Defense have expressed conservative positions on proposals to remove the statue, and a cross-departmental meeting would be convened to discuss it, the commission said.

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