The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday stepped up its efforts to protect the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei by pressing charges against individuals who have threatened to vandalize Chiang’s statue in the hall on the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident today.
KMT officials filed the charges with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, citing recent Facebook messages posted by the Free Taiwan Party and its chairman, Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴).
“Screenshots of their Facebook posts show that they intend to mobilize independence advocates to vandalize Chiang’s statue in the hall at 12:30pm tomorrow,” KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said.
As the memorial hall is a designated national monument, such an action would violate Article 103 of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), which is punishable by a maximum jail term of five years and a fine not exceeding NT$20 million (US$652,529), Hung said.
Publicly abetting an unspecified number of people to carry out vandalism also violates Article 63 of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) and Item 1, Article 153 of the Criminal Code, Hung said.
“The latter two violations are state-prosecutable offenses and we urge prosecutors to investigate the threats,” Hung said.
The investigative authority’s failure to prevent such crimes would constitute connivance and push the nation’s democracy back to the martial law period, he said.
Urging President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to handle the matter with wisdom instead of turning a blind eye to potential conflicts, Hung said the last thing the KMT wants to see is the public and different ethnic groups being divided by certain issues or ideologies.
The KMT also issued a news release saying it would hold Tsai and the Ministry of Culture accountable should any bloody clashes happen today due to the government’s attempt to remove the remnants of Chiang.
It was referring to the ministry’s announcement on Saturday that it would draft a law to reinvent the memorial hall and remove all souvenir store products that bear Chiang’s likeness.
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