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Family wants Chiangs buried in PRC hometown

Relatives say they want to follow Chiang Ching-kuo's dying wish

Family wants Chiangs buried in PRC hometown

The bodies of late presidents Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo will not be interred at the military cemetery in Wujhihshan, Taipei County but will instead be buried in their hometown in China, the family matriarch said yesterday.
Chiang Ching-kuo's daughter-in-law, Chiang Fang Chih-yi said yesterday that in light of the temporary closure of the mausoleums in Taoyuan County, "I have informed the Ministry of National Defense that our family will follow the dying wish of my father-in-law to rebury them in their birth place in Zhejiang province's Fenghua City, China." Chiang Fang made the comments while paying respects at Chiang Kai-shek's mausoleum in Dasi, Taoyuan County.
The body of Chiang Kai-shek is currently housed in a temporary mausoleum in the Cihhu complex in Dasi, while Chiang Ching-kuo's body is in Touliao, Taoyuan County. But mausoleums will be closed starting today as the MND works to transfer supervision of the sites to the county government.
Chiang said yesterday that the relocation of their remains to China does not mean that the two former heads of the country did not love the land of Taiwan.
"I think they have fully displayed their love to this land and this country. Now it's time for them to go home peacefully," Chiang Fang said.
"Since the government would not take care of their mausoleums and have told us to handle amily business' ourselves, we will follow both Chiangs' wishes," said Chiang Fang, disclosing that Chiang Ching-kuo had written in his diary that he wished to be buried in his hometown in China.
Chiang's remark referred to President Chen Shui-bian's comment several weeks ago that the national military could no longer protect the tombs of the two former presidents, as "soldiers are busy enough protecting the living."
President Chen had defended the controversial step in an interview with a local television station a few days ago, citing budgetary and manpower shortages.
Chiang Fang also expressed sorrow over the closing of the mausoleums yesterday, but stressed that her family will follow the government's policy on the withdrawal of honor guards posted at the two mausoleums.
Chiang Fang's remark drew strong criticism from Chen, who said that the move to relocate both ex-presidents' remains to China was "making a fool out of the government and all the 23 million Taiwanese people.
"The reburial in the military cemetery in Wujhihshan was their decision in the first place, and now they change their minds" said Chen angrily, adding that his administration had already spent NT$30 million to complete the cemetery, which has apparently all been in vain.
According to the Presidential Office, an application filed by Faina Chiang Fang-liang in January 2004 asked to have the Chiangs' remains relocated. The application included the names of all Chiang family members.
Former Defense Minister Lee Jye contacted the family, which confirmed the relocation plan. Chen consented to the relocation in April of the same year and the MND began discussing the issue in July 2004.
The military cemetery in Wujhihshan was completed at the end of August 2004, with the relocation to take place the following month. However, it was then that members of the Chiang family rejected the move, and the process has been deadlocked to this day.
In reaction to Chiang Fang's remark, ruling Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh and his opposition Kuomintang counterpart Ma Ying-jeou both said that the government should respect the opinion of the Chiang's family regarding the location of the reburial.
Meanwhile, local Chinese-language media reported that more than 70 thousand people visited the mausoleums in Taoyuan County yesterday before it was shut down. The crowds reportedly caused traffic jams along the road to the mausoleums.
The KMT, which the Chiangs had led, say the closure of the mausoleums was the latest effort by the government to downplay their legacy ahead of parliamentary and presidential votes next year.
In August, the government canceled two public holidays honoring Chiang Kai-shek after removing his statues from military sites and taking his name off the international airport.
Chiang Kai-shek is remembered by some as the leader who laid the foundations of Taiwan's economic prosperity and safeguarded the island from Chinese invasion.
However, the DPP holds him responsible for a massacre on February 28, 1947, in which thousands of local people were killed by KMT troops during riots.


Updated : 2021-08-01 12:39 GMT+08:00