TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Among strong domestic anti-Chiang sentiment, a prominent national university decided Friday to remove a statue of late President Chiang Kai-shek from its prominent location on campus, following lawmakers' call to remove effigies of Chiang in April, a beheaded Chiang statue in a national park that same month, and splashes of red paint inside Chiang's mausoleum in February.
A vote to decide the fate of Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen statues at the National Sun Yat-sen University is also the first of its kind in Taiwan, according to the school.
In a school referendum, 45.54 percent of students gave their votes, which took place between April 16 and 19. On Friday, the college announced that 62.93 percent voted to keep the statue of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China and of the Kuomintang, in the same spot, while only 46.72 percent opted to keep the Chiang Kai-shek statue. In effect, this means that the latter did not garner enough votes to pass the threshold of 50 percent to stay, so the school will move the statue to a less visible location.
Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Republic of China and of the Kuomintang from 1927 to 1975, has been labeled as a dictator among a majority of youngsters in Taiwan, and many claim he was responsible for a massacre of political dissidents in 1947 during an uprising against the KMT, later known as the 228 Incident.
The sentiment against Chiang has become stronger over years as more historical documents have been restored or recovered to reveal his role in the massacre, while he ruled Taiwan under Martial Law and imprisoned dissidents. The founding father of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen, a physician, is on the other hand, less controversial than Chiang, but still receives criticism for making an unwise deal with Japan during WWI.