More than 350 streets are named after Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) or his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), due to an edict issued during the nation’s authoritarian era, a study by the Transitional Justice Commission showed.
The survey of the Ministry of the Interior’s records of road names, online search engines and archival material found that 316 roads are named “Jhongjheng” (中正), a name adopted by Chiang Kai-shek, the commission said.
Twenty-eight roads are named “Jieshou” (介壽) — which is an abbreviation of the slogan “long live Chiang Kai-shek” — and 11 are named “Jingguo” (經國) after Chiang Ching-kuo, it added.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
The survey was conducted as part of an effort to rename roads that evoke authoritarian slogans and symbols, it said.
The proliferation of streets named after the Chiangs stemmed from a 1945 executive order to rename roads throughout Taiwan, which the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime had taken control of, it said.
The order from the then-Taiwan Provincial Government said that all street names honoring Japanese, the state of Japan or otherwise derived from Japanese were to be changed within two months, the commission said.
The new street names had to represent the “spirit of the Chinese people,” promote the Three Principles of the People, honor a national hero or recognize the geography or customs of an area, the commission cited the order as saying.
Examples of acceptable street names listed in the order included Jhonghua (中華), Sinyi (信義), Heping (和平), Sanmin (三民) and those that utilize the names of Chiang Kai-shek or Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), it said.
The implementation of the order in the two years that followed would form the basis of most street names used today, the commission said.
The post-war push to rename streets was motivated by a desire to replace representations of Japanese colonialism with symbols of Chinese authoritarianism, an effort that was indifferent to the identities and culture of Taiwan’s residents, it said.
Place names play an important role in forming the identity of the community living there, and reflect its cultural and historical context, the commission said, adding that the authoritarian-era names should be replaced.
Citing the Development of National Languages Act (國家語言發展法) and the Indigenous Peoples Basic Act (原住民族基本法), the commission said that new road names should promote the country’s local languages and culture, including those of Aboriginal communities.
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