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Saturday, May 30, 2009

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The Chinese Nationalist Party hates Taiwan's democracy

Goodbye democracy, hello dead-dictator worship

In the days of freedom, it was known as the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. We should have known what was coming.
Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (臺灣民主紀念館)
Photographed in December 2007 by Tim Maddog
(Click to enlarge)

The Saturday, May 30, 2009 edition of the Taipei Times brings us the details of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) plans to reverse Taiwan's democracy all the way back to how things were when they were the only party that was legal and memorializing dictators was de rigueur:
Old CKS plaque to be reinstated at Memorial Hall

[...]

The [KMT] government has decided to remove a plaque bearing the name "National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall" from the main building of the hall and would reinstate the "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" plaque in July, Minister Without Portfolio Ovid Tseng (曾志朗) said on Thursday.

The decision was made after coordination meetings between different government branches, Tseng said.

As for the inscription on the memorial hall's entry arch, the Ministry of Education said yesterday it would hold three public forums next month to discuss whether to reinstate the four-character inscription, dazhong zhizheng (大中至正), which means "great neutrality and perfect uprightness."*

Participants at the forums will include academics and experts, while elected representatives and government officials will be excluded from the meetings, the ministry said.

Tseng said the government would not replace the "Liberty Square" inscription at the hall entrance until after gauging public opinion on the matter during the ministry-sponsored forums.

[...]

During the review of the central government's budget request for the current fiscal year in January, the KMT-controlled legislature passed a resolution stating that "the name of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall shall be changed to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall."
Note carefully how they say they won't replace the "Liberty Square" sign "until after they gauge public opinion." According to experience, that means that no matter what the public has to say about it, they will do it, perhaps after pretending to do a survey.

A closer shot of the plaque which reads ''Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall''
A closer shot of the plaque which reads
"Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall"
Photographed in December 2007 by Tim Maddog
(Click to enlarge)

* NOTE: The second and fourth characters in "dazhong zhizheng" form two-thirds of one of Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石/蔣中正) names. Every city in Taiwan has a Zhongzheng/Jhongjheng/Chungcheng Road (中正路).

A Taipei gate displaying the words ''Liberty Square''
The gate at Liberty Square
Photographed in December 2007 by Tim Maddog
(Click to enlarge)

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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4 Comments:

At 6:17 AM, Blogger Jendee said...

This is a sad event & that Taiwanese allowing such event to take place showed how naive people can be in worshiping a dead dictator. Well, this is simply another calculated move by the Chinese in slowly brainwashing Taiwanese for the hope of unifying with mainland China.

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger D.T. said...

I'm not sure it's all about dictator worshipping nor brainwashing. Sure, there are ideological factors at work in both the name changing done by the DPP and the reinstatement of the plaque coming from the KMT, but a lot of the concerns also comes from the cultural and practical familiarity/referentiality of the locale - like how changing the name of 中油 abruptly would result in problems of business negotiations and recognition - in both a local and international sense. Second, the transition from a memorial hall to a democracy square was done hastily and questionable in its legal procedures...why at the tail of the DPP's reign? Why wasn't it planned out eariler? As for Chiang, I think a simple condemnation of him as dictator and that only lacks further discussion or a willingness to explore a complicated historical figure. Finally, even as a memorial hall, what are its current functions as public space? Do people actually go there to perform acts of worship?

 
At 3:01 AM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

D.T. wrote:
- - -
[...] even as a memorial hall, what are its current functions as public space? Do people actually go there to perform acts of worship?
- - -

The existence of a "memorial hall" dedicated to a dictator is an act of worship in itself.

Tim Maddog

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger Adeya said...

D.T.

How naive can you get? Why don't we change the Chiang Kai-shit Hall to "Hall of Adolf Hitler"? No one goes there to worship him anyway, right? I encourage you to read more history books written by western scholars and understand that hundreds & thousands of Taiwanese were murdered & tortured led by Chiang Kai-shit (not those propaganda written by KMT)and you shall appreciate the hard earned democracy in Taiwan. If you are ever in China, try to google the 3 "T"s - Taiwan, Tibet or Tiananmen Square & see what happens?

 

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