Commission urges end to honor guards at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei

Transitional Justice Commission urges abolishing of military honor guards at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As part of a list of authoritarian items to be removed from the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) yesterday (Dec. 17) called for the abolishing of the military honor guards.

At a news conference held yesterday, Acting Commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) outlined five authoritarian symbols the TJC recommends the Ministry of Culture remove from the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, including the presence of the military honor guards.

Yang said a total of 16 meetings had taken place regarding the revision and transformation of CKS Memorial Hall, including two expert meetings, four focus discussions, three briefings on human rights and transitional justice, and five workshops provided by the Ministry of Culture (MOC). Five follow-up recommendations were produced to guide the future vision of the site, according to Liberty Times.


Honor guards inside Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. (AP photo)

The five recommendations are as follows:

  1. Remove the authoritarian characteristics
  2. Record Taiwan's history of authoritarianism and dissidence
  3. Promote human rights, democracy, rule of law and civic education
  4. Establish a mechanism for implementation
  5. Implement interim transitional justice tasks during legislative process

As part of the fifth recommendation, Yang said that in the spirit of human rights and democracy, the site should no longer hold guard-changing ceremonies and should instead house permanent exhibitions promoting human rights and democracy.

However, Yang emphasized that five principles are recommendations only, and the MOC is yet to put forward a concrete plan of action. As for the honor guard, she said that a third meeting on the subject will be held and the TJC will discuss the matter with the Ministry of National Defense.

In response, the Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said that the honor guards are appointed by the Ministry of National Defense (MND), not the MOC, reported UDN. In turn, the MND said that it is the responsibility of the MOC to establish designations for national monuments and follow up steps shall be assessed after the MOC finalizes an overall plan for cultural relics.

Regarding the proposed changes to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that the President does not have the final say, nor does the TJC. Rather, society expects the TJC to build a platform through which different points of view can exchange their opinions, reported CNA.