Former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) showed his greatness in ending martial law despite his background and connection to the authoritarian government, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday at the opening of a park in honor of Chiang.
The Ching-kuo Chi-hai Cultural Park (經國七海文化園區) in Taipei’s Dazhi (大直) area includes Chiang’s former home — known as the Seven Seas Residence (七海寓所) — and the Chiang Ching-kuo Presidential Library.
It is the first library dedicated to the commemoration of a president in Taiwan and holds great historic and cultural value, Ma said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The library’s use of green architecture and purpose as an educational space is in line with Chiang’s customary low profile, said Ma, who was Chiang’s English secretary for seven years starting in 1981.
Ma said that in 1985, Chiang received a letter from Richard Ciccolella, the former head of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group in Taiwan, who urged Chiang to lift martial law as soon as possible.
After learning how the West viewed martial law, Ma said that Chiang responded with a frown, saying that Taiwan was not governed by the military, nor was it lawless.
Along with the recommendation from then-representative to the US Frederick Chien (錢復) that Taiwan lift martial law, Chiang on Oct. 7, 1986, announced during a meeting in Taipei with then-Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham that martial law would be lifted, Ma said.
Taiwan’s martial law, which was imposed on May 20, 1949, ended on July 15, 1987, which was at that time the world’s longest imposition of martial law by a regime.
Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), who also attended the park’s opening, said that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) attendance was a good sign, adding that the nation should unite and work toward a common future.
He said that Tsai’s presence defeated the Transitional Justice Commission’s criticism made the previous day that the establishment of the library and park glorified an authoritarian figure.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) wrote on Facebook yesterday that the Tsai administration was using the commission as a political tool against the principles and spirit of transitional justice.
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