Taiwan not keen on dismantling CKS Memorial Hall

CNA file photo
CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Minister Without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億) said Sunday that it would be best to give new functions and implications to the National Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial Hall, seen by some as a symbol of authoritarianism, instead of dismantling it.

Lin, tasked with overseeing issues related to the transformation of the hall, made the remarks after renewed calls from families of the 228 Incident victims to dismantle the structure.

There is no timetable yet for the fate of the CKS Memorial Hall as the Ministry of Culture(MOC) is still compiling relevant files with relation to the transformation, Lin said, adding that inter-department meetings will be convened for discussion after the MOC submits its recommendation.

There are many suggestions regarding the transformation of the memorial hall, issues such as the structure’s new name, new functions and how to deal with the late President Chiang Kai-shek’s statue, Lin said,

Suggestions from the victims’ families will be respected, but at the same time, these suggestions should be viable, Lin said.

Asked if dismantling the memorial hall is an option considered by the government, Lin reiterated that the best thing to do is to give new functions and positive implications to the structure instead of removing it or deserting it.

The CKS Memorial Hall, a 250,000-square-meter tourist attraction in the heart of Taipei, was completed in 1980 in Chiang’s memory, former leader of the Republic of China who moved his government to Taiwan in 1949 after fleeing China following his defeat in the Chinese civil war.

However, families and relatives of political persecution victims during the martial law period under Chiang have been calling for the dismantling of the memorial hall as they see Chiang as a human rights violator who should not be treated as a national hero.

“We all know that the (statue of the) persecutor is inside the structure,” Liao Ying-hao (廖英豪), grandson of a political victim of the 228 Incident, a civil uprising that began Feb. 28, 1947 that led to a bloody government crackdown, said during a commemorative event Friday.

“It remains a stab in the heart for the victims unless the structure is removed,” he said, urging the government to make a decision soon.

Liao described Chiang as the principal culprit of the 228 Incident.

On the other hand, Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) said Friday that the Legislative Yuan is currently working on a plan to remove the autocratic characteristics of the CKS Memorial Hall.

Ting said the government will eventually come up with a solution on the future of the CKS Memorial Hall that can promote social reconciliation and the country’s unity.