President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) decision to name an auditorium after former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) glorifies a “secret police czar” and the “White Terror hangman,” survivors of the White Terror era said.
Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) on Tuesday last week said in a news release that because Chiang attached great importance throughout his life to the cultivation of young people and served as director of the China Youth Anti-Communist National Salvation Corps for about 21 years, the office is to name an auditorium in the Presidential Office Building after him tomorrow, Youth Day.
Taiwan Association for the Care of the Victims of Political Persecution During the Martial Law Period secretary-general Tsai Kuan-yu (蔡寬裕) said that since Chen’s announcement, he has received calls from many White Terror survivors expressing displeasure over the naming of the auditorium, adding that a protest against the decision is being organized.
Tsai said that during the White Terror era, Chiang was head of the political warfare department at the Ministry of National Defense, which implicated him as the “secret police czar” and “overseer of the White Terror period.”
Chiang was the “White Terror hangman,” because numerous archived case files of White Terror victims contained Chiang’s written orders for their execution over fabricated charges and Chiang’s trusted lieutenants occupied leadership positions within security apparatuses throughout the White Terror era, former political prisoner Kao Chin-lang (高金郎) said.
“Victims of political repression feel great resentment toward the Presidential Office’s naming of the Ching-kuo Hall and consider commemoration of Chiang an anti-democratic statement. Chiang should not be commemorated and Ma should not try to establish a cult of personality,” Kao added.
Tsai said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government has since its retreat from China in 1949 executed political purges in Taiwan to consolidate its grasp on power, and Chiang exerted de facto control over the military and civilian intelligence agencies.
“Chiang played the role of the hidden overseer of White Terror political purges, which included giving orders to target specific individuals for arrest,” Tsai said.
During the 2014 Taipei mayoral election, People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) opposed then-KMT mayoral candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) proposal to rename City Hall Road as Ching-kuo Road on the grounds that Chiang was opposed to naming roads after himself or building monuments when he was alive, Tsai added.
“As victims of political repression, we emphatically reject Ma’s attempt to establish a cult of personality,” Tsai said.
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