Friday, December 7, 2007

Trouble at the memorial

Tensions rose and tempers flared with several people - mainly journalists - injured outside a memorial hall and square dedicated to Taiwan's former ruler, Chiang Kai-Shek.

A few months ago, the goverment held a ceremony rededicating the building as a symbol of the island’s democratization. But legal disputes with the city government – whose mayor is a member of the opposition Kuomintang – prevented the government from formally removing the building’s inscriptions and plaques, honouring the late President.

Putting up the barricades

Now, however, the ministry of education – in charge of the building’s management - believes it has the legal right to make the change . Its ordered workmen in..and they’ve begun putting up scaffolding around the monument, ready to removing some of the inscriptions . It also sent in several hundred police to try to prevent protestors from disrupting the work.

Barbed wire barricades have been put up to prevent people from entering the plaza around the memorial hall.

Chiang Kai-shek remains a highly controversial figure in Taiwan. He fled to Taiwan with his troops and followers in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war, where he set up a rival government and ruled with an iron grip.

The current government has blamed him for the deaths of thousands of people by ordering crackdowns on political dissidents. In the past its ordered Chiang's statues to be removed from public buildings and military barracks; and erased his name from Taiwan's main international airport.

But not everyone agrees with those steps...and the latest move is no exception. Many protestors outside said it was a waste of money; and driven only by political ideology...a gambit by the ruling DPP to mobilise supporters ahead of legislative and presidential elections next year.


abekonge said...

Wow - the Ministry of Education has the authority to call in the police?

No wonder the Taiwanese kids study so hard! :-p

Florence said...

It seems like the ministry of Education has the authority to rewrite history... What do YOU think about the whole circus ?

caro said...

well, many argue rectification of some kind is needed..but even the
VP took issue with the way the event was handled..could have been done more sensitively. Many DPP legislative candidates said it has negatively affected their support in local constituencies