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Two Chiangs' burial wishes will be respected, says GIO

Government will not argue over money spent on cemetery, Shieh says

Two Chiangs' burial wishes will be respected, says GIO

A government spokesman said yesterday that the government would respect the wishes of the families of late presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) on whether the two will be buried in Taiwan or China.
Family matriarch Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡), Chiang Ching-kuo's daughter-in-law, said on Sunday that the two should be buried in their hometown in China, sparking controversy as the government has already spent NT$30 million to build final resting places for the two at a military cemetery in suburban Taipei at the request of family members a few years ago.
Government Information Office head Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said the government had also allocated a budget of NT$40 million to finance their funeral services.
A day earlier, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) lambasted family members of the two Chiangs for "cheating" Taiwanese by trying to inter their bodies in their hometown of Fenghua, Zhejiang Province, after the government complied with their request.
Shieh said KMT Legislator John H. Chiang (蔣孝嚴), the illegitimate son of Chiang Ching-kuo, was the first in the Chiang family to have publicly opposed burying the two Chiangs at the military cemetery, and now Chiang Fang had followed.
"Whatever they want to do we will do our best to fulfill their wishes, but I hope that they will make up their minds and stop changing their plans all the time," Shieh said.
"We will not argue with them about the money we have spent on the project if the Chiang family really wishes to bury the two late presidents in China, as it is a choice that can only be made by the Chiang family," Shieh said.
DPP Legislator Julian Kuo, who is competing with John Chiang for a legislative seat in a Taipei City district, questioned if Chiang had consulted with mainland authorities on sites for the graves of the two late presidents.
Speaking at a news conference in Taipei, Kuo said Chiang should tell the public why he was opposed to burying the two late presidents in Taiwan, and if it was because they refused to accept having President Chen preside over the funeral services because of the president's pro-independence line.
Chiang dismissed the questions as election rhetoric aimed at escalating ethnic divisions.
He said, however, that he hopes that former Premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), who served under the two Chiangs for decades, would offer his advice to him and other family members on how to resolve this problem after the legislative polls.
Chiang made the suggestion during his visit to the two temporary mausoleums in Taoyuan County where the Chiangs' remains are kept. He was there to learn more about the security at the two locations after the Ministry of National Defense decided to withdraw its honor guards.
President Chen, who has labeled Chiang Kai-shek as one of the worst dictators in human history and the mastermind of the 228 Incident of 1947 in which many Taiwanese were killed in an uprising against the Nationalist government, said the country has no reason to post honor guards at his mausoleum at a cost of NT$70 million a year.
A spokesman for the Taoyuan County Government said it would consult with the Ministry of National Defense within a week on taking over the management of the two mausoleums, so that they could be reopened to the public as soon as possible.
The two mausoleums have become popular tourist resorts that are attracting thousands of visitors daily.


Updated : 2021-04-14 08:00 GMT+08:00