Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday blasted the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for comparing the government to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan because of a proposal to remove a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at a Taipei memorial hall.
The plan by the Transitional Justice Commission calls for the statue to be removed to transform the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall into a park for “reflection on Taiwan’s authoritarian history.”
However, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said that the DPP government is removing the statue for partisan reasons, adding: “How are they any different from the Taliban?”
The comment was in apparent reference to the destruction of two famous Buddha statues in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province and the dismantling of religious icons when the Taliban first took power in the late 1990s.
Rejecting the comparison, DPP caucus deputy secretary Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) said that the KMT was misleading the public.
Through Taiwan’s democratic process, the plaza at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall has been renamed the Liberty Square (自由廣場), and the removal of Chiang Kai-shek’s statue would be part of that process, Tsai said.
“Take a look at all the democratic countries in world; none of them has what Taiwan is still doing now. That is, continuing to venerate a dictator from the past, worshiping him like a deity, and some people are still paying tributes, and honoring him like a great hero,” he said.
“Taiwan’s case is unusual compared with other countries: We have experienced the transformation from authoritarian rule to a democracy, but did not undergo a revolution, or some form of bloody armed conflict,” he added.
DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said he agrees with one KMT official’s suggestion: renaming the memorial hall the “Anti-Communist Park,” as it conforms with Taiwan’s efforts to deter military attacks from its communist neighbor.
“Chiang Kai-shek made a lifelong struggle in fighting the Chinese Communist Party. This is the one thing that Taiwanese of all political stripes can find common ground and approve of his anti-communist ideology,” Lin said.
Pro-Taiwanese independence advocates also condemned Johnny Chiang’s comparison and voiced their support for the removal of Chiang Kai-shek’s statue.
“Johnny Chiang must be mentally deranged. It is the KMT under Chiang Kai-shek that ruled over Taiwan as a despot who is most like the Taliban,” the group Taiwan Republic said in a statement.
“Johnny Chiang’s Taliban comparison is ridiculous and distorts history to deceive the world,” it said. “Removing the statue is a wise decision by the Transitional Justice Commission, and we ask the government to work on it as soon as possible.”
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two