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Plan to shed authoritarian image of Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall soon to be unveiled

Architectural community invited to reimagine CKS Memorial Hall

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National Chiang Kei-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. 

National Chiang Kei-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The proposal to repurpose the National Chiang Kei-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei will be revealed as early as March, according to Taiwan’s task force responsible for removing the country’s authoritarian symbols.

A number of architectural studios have been invited to put forth their ideas for reshaping the image of the monument and landmark in memory of late Taiwan leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), said Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈), deputy executive of the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC). Chiang’s legacy is riddled with controversy, one key issue being the February 228 Massacre that left him a dictator in the eyes of many.

TJC is supposed to submit a plan for the transformation of the memorial hall and its future use before the commission’s tenure ends in May, per CNA. Located in Zhongzheng District in the capital, the park has an area of 25 hectares, dwarfed only by Daan Forest Park in the city’s public spaces.

Apart from the issue of whether or not to remove the statue of Chiang, which Yeh has depicted as the country's "largest statue of authoritarianism," TJC is exploring ways to make the most of the sprawling venue in the context of Taiwan in the 21st century, according to Yeh.

Consultations have taken place over the past year with workshops held to seek public advice on how the facility’s functions can be optimized. Proposals include remodeling it as a property for legislative use, a memorial hall for past presidents of Taiwan, a sage shrine, or a cultural park.

A clearer picture is likely to emerge no later than April after TJC has collected opinions from the country’s architectural talent. Working out a solution to preserve a historic site while giving it a new lease on life will be a core element of the facelift, Yeh added.