Monday, July 20, 2009

_UPDATED_: KMT restores Chiang Kai-shek Name to Memorial Hall

With international attention focused on the World Games in Kaohsiung and many international reporters down there, the KMT government has seized the moment to return "Chiang Kai-shek" to the top of the Hall with Two Names, and remove the Democracy Hall sign. Updates as I get'em...

Cyrix has some vids

Photos in this Plurk.

UPDATE: Cyrix says KMT plans to finish at 3.

UPDATE II: It's over, as Taiwan News reports:
Workers removed the name “Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall” and replaced them with the old name “Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall” on the Taipei landmark Monday.

The full-day closure of the hall, built as a tribute to Chiang after his death in 1975, and of its surrounding park was not announced beforehand, provoking criticism from the opposition, which also described the change as a return to authoritarianism.

The previous Democratic Progressive Party administration had the name of the late dictator removed in 2007 amid a dispute between the Ministry of Education and the Taipei City Government over the site of the hall in downtown Taipei.

Work began at 8:10 a.m. after an estimated 900 police closed off the park and surrounded the location with barbed wire. Workers on an elevator moved up first to remove the seven Chinese characters for Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall and their background, for a total of 21 pieces, weighing a combined 751.76 kilograms. Putting up the old characters for Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall started at 1:30 p.m.

Protesters turned up outside the venue, but unlike during the first change two years ago, no clashes were reported. The opponents held a silent sit-in protest. DPP members of the Taipei City Council were refused access to the site. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin denied accusations that too many police had been mobilized for the operation.
During the election a friend chided me, saying "it's not your father's KMT." Wrong. It is my father's KMT, and they worship my grandfather's KMT.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

I sense a moment of foreshadowing as the KMT removes the sign for democracy and replaces it with the name of a dictator.

Anonymous said...

Finally, I waited a long time for this. Its the perfect example of how a not too small percentage of the Taiwanese population was cheated into believing in the "new and changed KMT".

Tim Maddog said...

The bastards will never change.

Tim Maddog

Carlos said...

There aren't plans to change the square's name, are there? That one's more important to me, since it was so important to Taiwan's democratization.

As for the mausoleum inside... it's a sick joke to call it "Democracy Hall." That isn't fair to democracy at all. It's a black mark upon the city and should be remembered as such.

James said...

Hiya Turton, being far from your philosophical persuasions (mind you, as a european christian and rightist I don't fancy the US religious right too much, and agree with your dislike for cults like the mormons), I think you have a great blog up on Taiwan! Your pics (which I spent some hours to look at) from all levels of its society are amazing and tell droves of stories by themselves. Thanks for this!

But for a guy like me who plan to make a short visit to Taiwan one day, which's just a matter of time, your blog is at a little high level. Wish there was a blog like 'Taiwan for Dummies' or similar. I mean where one gets straight answers to these silly and simple questions like if I can walk the streets of Taipei after dark, if one can get by with english, if I should bring euros or dollars, if there are enough ATMs around, what the average daily expenses are for visitors, what is the best way of transportation on the island etc...(Nope Frommer's and the likes don't give easy, practical replies to these Q's).

Maybe these things are found somewhere on your huge blog? But I have yet to find them if so.

Anyway, thanks again for all these pics, they do encourage me to see the place IRL. Regards /James.

PS. This post has nothing particular to do with this thread, but could have been placed just about anywhere at the blog.

Michael Turton said...


I don't blog on any of that stuff. Sorry, man. But thanks for the kind words.

Wish I could answer all your questions. ATMs a plenty but lots of times you can't use US cards. You should put your queries in at, the Taiwan forums.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Carlos, having "Democracy Hall" written over Ol Jiangs Mausoleum didn't really improve the situation. On the other hand, this just perfectly show how the KMT works. First Critizing the undemocratic decision making by the DPP to rename the place, rioting, promising a referendum on weather or not the name should be changed back during and shortly after election and later silently killing that idea off, informing the public that the best decision has been made (behind closed curtains). Its disgusting, and contains a cautionary tale for Taiwans near future.

Anonymous said...

So much for the KMT's original contention that name changes are a waste of time and money for society. Look how much media coverage the original name change got but this will likely be hardly noticed. And, what?? No violence from the DPP who are supposedly the violent ones? I guess it's like the presidential elections - when the KMT lost 2 elections there were riots but when the DPP lost - nothing. People had better think twice about who the violent ones are......
Thanks goodness the DPP did not rename every Zhong Zheng Rd in Taiwan. It's a pathetic testament to the state of things here when many thousands of roads are named after a dictator to the point that it becomes the equivalent of 'Main Street'

Klaus said...

I recently returned from the place. The groups of people there, in order of size:

1. Police
2. Journalists
3. Passers-by, stopping for some time to take pictures
4. Protesters, maybe 10 altogether (around 2 p.m.)

One correction on the report you quoted: There were DPP city legislators there who were granted access to the hall.

Amazing where they got all that barbed wire from, actually...

Ben Goren said...

900 police? Clearly the KMT must have anticipated mass protest even though they planned it for sunday night/ monday morning ... so much for the public consultation about the name change .. which also cost the Taiwanese an additional 1.1 million nt. Before the 2008 elections the KMT said it wouldn't waste money and time on renaming things as they were contentious yet they have now changed both the post office and Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall ... despicable

Adam said...

Does this mean the airport will become CKS again?

BIT said...

My fellow Taiwanese, if you feel you live in the shadow of the White Terror and dare not speak out, you know what to do in the next election.

Anonymous said...

soviet lessons:

1: if you not want the old idiology come back destroy the memorials completly.

Dixteel said...

It looks like people already give up on protesting this kind of shit because they know the KMT won't listen.

I would say, next time, don't do a half ass job. Either blow the whole place up with some fire works, or leave it alone. No point having a giant CKS statue inside and call it Liberty Square.

Marc said...

Dixteel said: No point having a giant CKS statue inside and call it Liberty Square.

It suppose it depends on how you look at it. You could say that the forces of Liberty surround CKS, and the ol' generalissimo is a prisoner high up in his tower.

StefanMuc said...

I think my sister in law found a nice name for it "Chang Kai Shit Memorial Hall".