Taiwan's White Terror victims urge speed up CKS Memorial Hall revision after slapping incident

Political persecution survivors worry that a slow pace could hinder transitional justice for victims and their family.

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The photo shows a large statue of Chiang Kai-shek at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The photo shows a large statue of Chiang Kai-shek at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Representatives of the White Terror victims stood up on Thursday and denounced the use of violence, two days after Cultural Minister Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) was slapped in the face by an outraged senior entertainer, saying the violence is the consequence of the Kuomintang's half-century-long patriotic brainwashing, as well as the delayed removal of symbols honoring the KMT dictatorship still on display at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (CKS Memorial Hall).

The minister was assaulted by a 67-year-old former showgirl, Cheng Hui-chung (鄭惠中), on Jan. 22 at a function in Taipei, whose excuse for the act was her disagreement with the minister's proposed reforms to the memorial hall. The plan includes removal of symbols honoring the country's former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正), and transforming the venue into an open exhibition of the country's struggle with human rights over its history.

The representatives of the White Terror victims issued a four-point statement in response to the incident: First, they thanked the cultural minister for remaining dedicated to promoting transitional justice; second, they encouraged the reforms to the memorial hall and nationwide public space, as stipulated in the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例).

Third, they condemned the acts of Kuomintang (KMT) legislators' perennial boycott against the Transitional Justice Commission (促轉會); last, they expressed their strong support to anyone committed to transitional justice and desired an uptick in the pace of the work that is underway.

Taiwan 228 Incident Care Association director-general Hsin Pan-hsing (潘信行) said that he was shocked to see the minister being attacked for generating a plan to scrap the symbols of the country's authoritarian past.

Lin Li-tsai (林黎彩), the Director of the 228 Incident Memorial Foundation, said the organization has been seeking truth for many decades and can't imagine there still exist people living under Chiang's authoritarian legacy and honoring the murderer.

The chief for the Association for Promoting Rehabilitation of Victims of the White Terror, Lan Yun-roe (藍云若), said the attack manifests the consequence of the decades-long authoritarian brainwashing that has deceived people into believing Chiang was a hero and a savior.

Lan, who is the daughter of a murdered political elite and writer during the White Terror era, urged the government to speed up the pace of its reforms at the CKS Memorial Hall by removing the large statue of the dictator, and thus preclude international tourists from being erroneously led to favor Chiang’s contributions to the development of Taiwan's democracy.