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Tainan removes statues of Chiang Kai-shek from schools

Tainan removes statues of Chiang Kai-shek from schools

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) Tainan City Government on Saturday removed statues of the late President Chiang Kai-shek from several elementary and junior high schools, but some local residents criticized the action as being "too secretive." The city government's Bureau of Education mobilized teams to remove statues of the late president from the campuses of 14 elementary and junior high schools in one day. The schools were not informed in advance, though they were instructed to take photographs as evidence of the action after the removal teams arrived. However, the team that arrived at Cheng Kung Junior High School was blocked by residents of a nearby military dependants' village (??), who argued that the city government had not discussed the matter with them in advance, forcing the team to suspend the planned removal of the statue. City education official Huang Hsu-hsin (???) said that because the removal of the statues is a highly sensitive issue for certain sections of the community, it was decided to proceed in secret to avoid unexpected incidents. Although the city government has established a task force to deal with removed statues which could be relocated to Chiang Kai-shek Sculpture Park in Cihu, Taoyuan or other locations, it has declined to confirm how it will deal with the statues removed on Saturday. Commenting on the removal operation, Hsieh Lung-chieh(???), head of the Tainan chapter of the ruling Kuomintang, said he regretted the mayor's action, saying that it amounted to a purge from the public memory of an important historical figure. Hsieh said that Chiang's merits or failures could be discussed, but that the mayor was using his personal popularity and political views to polarize society. The mayor himself said the removal of the statues is one aspect of implementing transitional justice and allowing the controversies of the past to fade into history. He said that the removal was not undertaken on a whim, but rather announced on Feb. 28 when he attended a memorial event to mark the 228 Incident. He added that all statues will be removed except the one at Cheng Kung Junior high school, because the ward chief and residents have different views.
"The removal is aimed at letting the past fade into history. The alternative is to watch the statues being sprayed paint, vandalized or covered in banners every year, causing inter-communal tension," he said "We hope to settle the matter once and for all. Moreover, a school is most certainly not an appropriate location for a political totem," he said. (By Yang Su-jui and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-07-31 01:04 GMT+08:00