The Taipei City Government is glorifying authoritarianism with today’s opening of a heritage site to honor former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), the Transitional Justice Commission said yesterday.
The Ching-kuo Chi-hai Cultural Park (經國七海文化園區) in Taipei’s Dazhi (大直) area, jointly built and operated by the city government and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, features Chiang’s diaries and paintings, among other items.
The site’s installations do not address Chiang’s role in the White Terror era, the commission said, adding that the city should rename or redesign the park.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs
Citing its own report from September last year, the commission said that during the White Terror era Chiang was head of records at the Presidential Office’s special affairs department and director of political warfare at the Ministry of National Defense, posts that were at the top of the nation’s security and intelligence apparatus.
Chiang was fully cognizant of the government’s White Terror operations and a participant in its perpetration before he became president, it said.
Chiang’s actions harmed numerous Taiwanese, and the power he wielded was never granted through a democratic process, it said.
After becoming president, he orchestrated a policy of branding dissidents as communist spies, while avoiding the kind of direct interference in military tribunals like his father, Chiang Kai-shek, it said.
The persecution of dissidents Yu Teng-fa (余登發), Tsai Yu-chuan (蔡有全) and Hsu Tsao-te (許曹德), and the killing of writer Chiang Nan (江南) in the US occurred under Chiang Ching-kuo’s administration, it said.
Chiang Ching-kuo supervised the persecution of dissidents during the Kaohsiung Incident of 1979, writing in his diary that he intended to “make a clean sweep [of his enemies] and then tear them out by the root,” the commission said.
The government is also suspected to be responsible for the unsolved murders of veteran democracy advocate Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) mother and two daughters, and the suspicious death of democracy advocate Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), which both occurred despite being under police surveillance, it said.
Chiang Ching-kuo viewed elections — which he begrudgingly permitted under international pressure — as a waste of time and money, the commission said.
The commission said that the park qualifies as an authoritarian symbol under the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) and should be dealt with as such, it said.
The city government’s statements in support of the park — which credited Chiang Ching-kuo with ending the Martial Law period, initiating liberal reforms, and building the nation’s economy and culture — are not accepted by the commission, it said.
The city government said that the commission is “imposing political correctness” on history and that the city has handled the project to revitalize Chiang Ching-kuo’s former residence in a manner that respected his historical context.
Additional reporting by Yang Hsin-hui
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