Taipei City to take action against memorial renaming

The name change of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall into National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall on Saturday has pit the central government against Taipei City government, putting the spotlight on the serious longstanding division of political ideology among the people of Taiwan.
On Saturday President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) presided over the grand ceremony to announce the name change of the landmark located in downtown Taipei, named after the late president Chiang Kai-shek, to a memorial hall commemorating the achievement of Taiwan's democratic movement. Two gigantic drapes with paintings of Taiwan water lilies and the name "National Taiwan Democratic Memorial Hall" were seen hanging from the sides of the main building, which enshrines Chiang Kai-shek in the form of a large statue.
Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the presidential candidate of the main opposition party Kuomintang, said the central government should have had a second thought before launching such a movement. Ma accused the government for not only taking the lead role in violating the law but also stirring confrontations between the people.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said, "We (the Taipei City government) will immediately demand that they (the central government) remove the drapes. If they don't do this we will be forced to take action." He said that the city government will proceed to pull down the drapes at any time after a document requiring the removal of the drapes is sent out.
Taipei's chief of cultural affairs Lee Yung-ping said the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall has not achieved its legality through legislative approval and thus is nonexistent, and the two drapes covering the left and right sides of the building, if not removed, would be handled according to the Act for the Preservation of Cultural Properties, which would impose a fine of between NT$100,000 to 500,000 for such a violation and for each further breach. Lee said the department had issued a fine of NT$10,000 and demanded the drapes be taken down right away.
The Taipei City Government did not give permission last year to the application of the organizers of a massive anti-Chen Shui-bian protest to cover the Jingfu Gate, a historical city gate near the memorial hall, with drapes, Lee said. That showed the City Government's administrative consistency in dealing with the use of cultural sites, Lee said, adding that the city government was forced to intervene into the controversy of the issue about the name change of the memorial hall.
The KMT legislative caucus plans to file a complaint against Education Minster Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) for misusing his administrative power to stage the name change. KMT's policy chief Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) criticized the creation of the name "National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall" as an illegal creation because the Provisions Governing the Organization of the CKS Memorial Hall Administration Office, which is a law, has not been abolished.
The KMT has played cool on Saturday's name-change ceremony. But analysts said the KMT had learned a lesson and tried to avoid direct confrontations with the governing party in dealing with issues of political ideology. They added the KMT would instead seek judicial solution to the issue of the name change.
After the name change, President Chen yesterday said that the military honor guard in the memorial hall will be withdrawn, but the wall surrounding the hall needs not be torn down.
One day after the name change, about a hundred police officers were seen deployed at the side gates of the memorial hall guarding the plates for the new name, but a veteran was seen spitting at a plate several times amid police intervention. A foreigner visiting the memorial hall interviewed by a local TV station said he thought Chiang had made no contribution to the democracy of Taiwan and that the name change was appropriate.