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Lu admits hall renaming fiasco hurt DPP polls

Vice president urges education minister to take responsibility, apologize to public

Lu admits hall renaming fiasco hurt DPP polls

Vice President Annette Lu yesterday offered an apology to the public for the chaos over the removal of the "dazhong zhizheng" plaque on the main gate of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. She said that the improper handling of the situation had resulted in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party trailing behind in the tracking polls ahead of the upcoming elections.
"I would like to apologize for the improper handling of the plaque removal by the Ministry of Education," Lu said, adding that Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng should also come out and apologize to the people instead of continuing to use his subordinate as a shield.
Chuang Kuo-jung, chief secretary of the MOE, has been overseeing the renaming of the hall, which includes the removal of plaques that pertain to the place formerly known as Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Chuang, regarded by the local media as acting on behalf of Tu regarding the renaming process, has borne the brunt of public criticism over the arguments and scuffles which had erupted over the removal of the plaques. The MOE chief secretary's blunt remarks on the controversial events has earned him national fame and has even made him into the de facto spokesperson for his ministry.
Lu made the comment during campaigning for the DPP ahead of the upcoming legislative election yesterday.
In her remarks, Lu pointed out that the intention to remove the inscriptions "dazhong zhizheng" that alluded to former president Chiang Kai-shek on the main gate's archway to "Liberty Square" is a right move. However, Lu said the method used by the MOE was unrefined and has caused the public to have a negative impression of the DPP administration.
The improper handling of the plaque controversy, according to Lu's observation, is the main reason for the DPP's lag in the tracking polls during the past few months, Lu said.
Lu urged Tu to listen to her advice and to officially apologize for the mismanagement to Taiwanese people and to give his promise to make adjustments in the future.
Chuang brushed off Lu's criticism, saying that it was nothing but a misunderstanding between Lu and his ministry.
"The main point of the whole renaming project is not focusing on the criticism of any individual, but to give prominence to the process of Taiwan's democracy," said Chuang. He did not apologize for his ministry regarding the renaming controversy.
Meanwhile, according to Central News Agency's report yesterday, the new look of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall's lobby room where Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石) bronze statue stands will feature a kite exhibition and local artists' works and writings to exemplify the local democratic movement.
The report quoted a person who took part in arranging the new look of the room saying that a numbers of kites will be installed in the lobby room as a symbol of freedom.
He added that photographs of local democratic movements will also very likely be displayed in the room to show visitors the spirit and painstaking process of Taiwan's democratization.
The report had refuted a claim made by Chuang a few days earlier that a U-sized frame will be constructed around the statue, while pictures and names of the victims who lost their lives during the 228 Massacre will be put on the rigid frame after the lobby room re-opens to the public tomorrow.


Updated : 2021-07-29 10:38 GMT+08:00