TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A statue of late President Chiang Kai-shek near a famous flower clock at Taipei City’s Yangmingshan (陽明山) National Park was found decapitated and daubed with red paint Saturday morning.
Only last weekend, the statue of Japanese civil engineer Yoichi Hatta (八田與一) at a Tainan park was found beheaded, with a former politician claiming responsibility. It was not clear whether the new incident was an act of revenge for the first beheading.
In Yangmingshan, an area popular with hikers and tourists alike, the pedestal of the Chiang statue was covered in Chinese-language graffiti naming the former president as the man responsible for the 228 Incident, the deadly repression against the 1947 uprising against his China-based regime. Up to 28,000 people are believed to have died during the government action, often members of the Taiwanese elite, many of who were executed, disappeared, or kept prisoner for many years beyond in the period known as the White Terror.
The statue was relatively ancient so experts would have to determine whether it was possible to restore it, the Taipei City Government said.
The head of the statue was missing, but a small saw had been found near the site, police said. They were looking at surveillance camera footage in the area to try and find a suspect, reports said.
Anyone found guilty of damaging public property could be sentenced to up to three years in prison, police said, calling on citizens to remain rational.
Many groups have called on the government to follow through on its campaign for transitional justice and remove effigies of Chiang from public spaces, including university campuses and city plazas.