A senior government official yesterday warned that the mausoleum of former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) might be in danger due to its proximity to a faultline.
The bodies of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo were not buried. Chiang Ching-kuo’s body was preserved at a mausoleum in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪) and Chiang Kai-shek’s remains were entombed at a mausoleum in Tzuhu (慈湖).
Both mausoleums are old and require a lot of money to repair, said the official, who declined to be named, adding that repairs last year to the Chiang Ching-kuo mausoleum cost NT$13.2 million (US$408,289), while the Tzuhu mausoleum cost NT$10.4 million.
Photo: Tsai Chia-yen, Taipei Times
The official said that Chiang Ching-kuo building has cracks and has leaked since its commissioning in 1988 and the structure is slowly deteriorating.
Another point of concern is that the Chiang Ching-kuo site is only 195m from the Sindian faultline, which passes through the entire Taoyuan area, the official said, adding that the government has yet to make a complete assessment of the area after the 921 Earthquake in 1999.
“We are still uncertain whether the area around the mausoleum suffers from subsidence and without that assessment, we cannot make plans or changes to the design,” the official said.
The Sindian faultline runs through northern Taiwan, including Sindian District (新店) in Taipei, which gives it the name. The southern tip of the fault is in Dasi.
The Presidential Office and the Ministry of National Defense’s Reserve Command jointly said that should the Chiang family make a decision, the public cemetery on Wuchih Mountain (五指山) in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止) has been set up to hold the bodies.
The “Chiang Ling” (Chiang Tomb, 蔣陵) — the first of its kind built on government land using government funds — was completed in 2005 following talks with the Chiang family about moving the bodies. It features a plaque hung over the entrance, which is a Chinese-style archway, reminiscent of imperial China.
Spaces inside the site for epitaphs and commendations have been left blank.
The Chinese word ling is usually reserved for nobility and royals in ancient China, while the word grave or tomb is usually denoted by the Chinese word fen mu (墳墓).
The construction of the Chiang Ling cost NT$31.4 million.
Since the passing of Chiang Kai-shek’s wife, Soong Mayling (宋美齡), in 2003, the family has lacked an individual who can make decisions on behalf of the whole family, the official said.
Despite multiple efforts by all levels of the government, the Chiang family remains divided on the issue of moving the bodies, the official said, adding that after being unused for 11 years, the Wuchih Mountain site might remain that way for years to come.
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