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Taiwan mulls removal of Chiang Kai-shek statue from memorial hall

Transitional justice plan intends to transform 'worship axis' at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek inside CKS Memorial Hall. 

Bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek inside CKS Memorial Hall.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Transitional Justice Commission announced its transformation plan for National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Wednesday (Sept. 8), which includes the removal of Chiang's bronze statue and converting the main axis into a reflection on Taiwan's authoritarian past.

According to the transformation plan, the main axis of the complex will serve as a "retrospective look at Taiwan's authoritarian history." The overall redesign will include two main themes, the transformation away from an "authoritarian space" and "reconstructing a commemorative narrative."

The major changes called for in the plan include the removal of a bronze statue of Chiang, who occupied Taiwan after World War II. The modifications will transform the function and appearance of the memorial hall and change the attitude of worship toward the late leader.

Transitional Justice Commission Spokeswoman Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈) was cited by Newtalk as saying that the statue, which is situated in the main chamber of the main hall, is the country's "largest statue of authoritarianism." She said its removal is indicative of the establishment of a "liberal democratic constitutional order, denying the legitimacy of authoritarian rule, and remembering the historical lessons of human rights violations."

The commission said full details of the transformation plan will be explained to the public by mid-2022, including the proposed use of floor space, results from public surveys, and proposed legislation. Once this has taken place, the results of the improved plan will be included in a summary report that will be submitted to the Cabinet, in accordance with the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice.