Closed since December, the mausoleums of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), will reopen tomorrow, Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) said yesterday.
Chu made the announcement during a question-and-answer session at the Taoyuan County Council yesterday.
“They [the mausoleums] will be reopened at 8am on Saturday, and will open every day from then on,” Chu said.
Chiang Kai-shek’s mausoleum is located at the Tzuhu Presidential Burial Place (慈湖陵寢) in Taoyuan County’s Dasi Township (大溪).
The body of Chiang Ching-kuo, who died in 1988, was placed in a mausoleum in Touliao (頭寮), not far from his father’s final resting place.
When Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975, his remains were placed in a temporary mausoleum, with the hope that they would be returned to China for burial when his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime was restored to power in China.
The mausoleums were closed on Dec. 23 last year by the Ministry of National Defense, which was in charge of their upkeep.
“Last year, Taoyuan County Government expressed an interest in taking over the area, so we had to close it down to allow an inventory check of the assets and an innovation project,” MND spokeswoman Lisa Chi (池玉蘭), said yesterday.
Along with the shutdown, 80 honor guards who had been on duty at the mausoleums were also withdrawn.
The former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration had slammed the upkeep of the mausoleums as a waste of national resources and money.
Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said there was no justification for using taxpayers’ money to guard the mausoleum of a dictator.
According to figures released by the Dasi Township office, the total revenue from tourism in areas surrounding the Tzuhu mausoleum has decreased by NT$300 million (US$9.8 million) in the period since the park was closed down.
Although negotiations on the transfer of jurisdiction between the ministry and the Taoyuan County Government is ongoing, the ministry agreed to a request by the county government to reopen the park tomorrow, Chi said, adding that the honor guards will not be back for the time being.
“Beginning on Saturday, the Tzuhu Presidential Burial Place will be open from 8am to 5pm daily,” said Lai Shu-hua (賴淑華), a Tourism Marketing Department official at the county government.
“Since the military honor guards will not be there on Saturday, we’ve invited the marching band from the local Yangming Senior High School to perform at the opening ceremony,” she said.