Taipei, April 3 (CNA) The Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office on Tuesday indicted 10 people for vandalizing the tomb of late President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) by splashing red paint on his tomb at the Cihu Mausoleum in Taoyuan.
The 10 people from a pro-Taiwan independence group daubed Chiang’s sarcophagus with red paint on the 71st anniversary of the 228 Incident, sparking controversy.
The 228 Incident refers to an anti-government uprising and the subsequent brutal crackdown by Kuomintang authorities in early 1947 that left tens of thousands of people dead or imprisoned.
Members of the group said after being arrested that they cared about justice, in particular transitional justice, and believed that true transitional justice will never happen as long as national resources continue to be dedicated to memorializing the Chiangs.
In a statement Tuesday, prosecutors said the 10 people were indicted on charges of “publicly insulting” a tomb and public memorial and obstructing officers from discharging their duties.
Though a transitional justice law was passed by the Legislature in December 2017 to address the legacy of injustices left by former Kuomintang (KMT) administrations, its regulations were based on principles and policies and should only be implemented through legitimate legal processes, prosecutors said.
But because they expressed their political ideas by splashing paint, the 10 people indicted did not adhere to existing legal processes, according to prosecutors.
Although any expression of political views or ideas falls under the scope of freedom of speech, and the right to freedom of expression should be guaranteed, these views or ideas should be expressed in legal ways, prosecutors said.
The 10 people are also suspected of violating the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act by damaging a historical building, and the prosecutors office said it will notify the Taoyuan government to handle any administrative penalties related to the case.
(By Wu Jui-chi and Evelyn Kao)