Taipei mayor vows to follow spirit of Chiang Wei-shui

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) pledged Saturday to continue to work to improve Taiwan's political culture based on the spirit of Taiwanese democracy pioneer Chiang Wei-shui (???). Ko said he has been upholding Chiang's philosophy since he entered the mayoral election last year and is now trying to finish what Chiang started 90 years ago. Ko made the remarks at a ceremony to remove Chiang's remains from Taipei's Liuzhangli Public Cemetery to the Cherry Blossom Cemetery in his native Yilan County. Chiang, who practiced medicine in Taipei in his 20s, launched campaigns to promote Taiwan democracy and culture and engaged in a non-military movement against Japanese colonial rule, Ko said. In the 40 years of his life, Chiang became figure a representative of Yilan, Taipei and Taiwan, the mayor said. Chiang was the founder of the Taiwan Minpao newspaper, Taiwanese People's Party, Taiwanese Workers' League and Taiwanese Cultural Association, Ko said, adding that it all had a great influence on himself and Taiwan's political culture. During his mayoral campaign, Ko said, he put forth the idea of "changing Taiwan, starting with the capital; changing Taipei, starting with culture." As a matter of fact, the idea was based on Chiang's advocacy for a new Taiwanese cultural campaign, he said. Chiang, who was dubbed "Taiwan's Sun Yat-sen," was born in 1891 in Yilan during the Ching Dynasty. In 1895, when he was five years old, Taiwan was ceded to Japan following China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War. Because Chiang's father refused to allow his children to receive Japanese education, Chiang did not have the opportunity to enter public school until he was 16 years old. At the age of 20, Chiang was admitted to Taiwan Medical College, now Taiwan National University's College of Medicine. After he graduated, Chiang opened a hospital in Taipei. He established the Taiwanese Cultural Association in 1921, giving speeches around Taiwan to fight for people's rights. In 1923, Chiang staged a demonstration during a visit to Taiwan by Japan's Prince Hirohito, and was jailed for 140 days. Largely because of Chiang's efforts to promote freedom of association, the Japanese colonial government eventually allowed the Taiwanese people to form groups. The Taiwanese People's Party was established and launched in 1927 but was disbanded by the government in 1931. Chiang died of typhoid that same year at the age of 40. (By Lin Chung-sen, Worthy Shen and Y.F. Low)