Taiwan is still full of reminders of the authoritarian era under Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), with a total of 1,814 sites, monuments and office spaces named in memory of them, an average of one for every 20km2 in the nation, a Transitional Justice Commission report released on Friday said.
Taiwan has 1,235 monuments, statues, sculptures and large-frame portraits commemorating the two Chiangs, commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said, adding that of those, 511 fall under the central government’s jurisdiction, and only 54 have been removed or renamed.
There are also 579 memorial sites and office spaces named in remembrance of them.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
Excluding the 227 statues of Chiang Kai-shek and two of Chiang Ching-kuo at the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪), there are 848 statues of Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan, of which 511 belong to local governments and 337 belong to the central government, the report said.
Taipei has the most statues of Chiang Kai-shek at 129, followed by Taoyuan at 112 and Taichung at 98, it added.
For those under the central government’s jurisdiction, most of the statues dedicated to the two Chiangs are located in agencies under the Ministry of National Defense, the Veterans Affairs Council and the Ministry of Education, the report found, adding that they have 276 in total, or 82 percent.
The three ministries also have the highest number of office spaces and sites dedicated to the two Chiangs at 143, or 89 percent.
Of the 419 statues, office spaces and sites, only five have been removed or repurposed, and that was mainly done by universities, commission Deputy Chair Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈) said, adding that as the military and other schools have differing views on the removal of statues or monuments of the two Chiangs, discussions with the three ministries are ongoing.
“There are many ways to handle these reminders of Taiwan’s authoritarian past, including removing them, repurposing them into open public sites or spaces for the arts ... while moving them to be stored at a warehouse is also another option, or transferring them to cultural parks,” said Yang, adding the commission would continue to keep track of how the government agencies are dealing with the matter.
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