Cultural Revolution, The Fight Over a Dictator’s Legacy

March 15, 2007 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Chiang Kai-shek, China, Chinese Civil War, 蒋介石, 蔣介石, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment


Taipei, Mar. 15 2007 The Economist

Chiang Kai-Shek may once have been revered as a near-god on Taiwan, where he led his Chinese Nationalist regime after being defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communists on the mainland in 1949. But almost a third of a century after his death, the memory of the old dictator is being effaced, with the removal of the generalissimo’s statues and the renaming of many streets and even Taipei’s international airport.

This has provoked a political row, which this week engulfed Taiwan’s defence minister, Lee Jye. He was expelled from the Kuomintang (KMT), Chiang’s former ruling party, for allowing statues of the old nationalist to be removed from Taiwan’s military bases. Chiang’s legacy has never been properly examined in Taiwan. Arguments about the past are also fights over what the island should be in the future: a part of China (the view of Chiang Kai-shek and his political heirs), or an independent nation with a distinct, non-Chinese Taiwanese identity.

The current government of President Chen Shui-bian, whose Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leans towards independence (but which appointed a KMT man as defence minister), intensified its campaign against the generalissimo as the island marked the 60th anniversary of the “228 Incident”—the KMT‘s violent suppression of protests against its rule on February 28th 1947. An estimated 28,000 were killed.

Blaming the massacres on Chiang and the “outside” regime of the KMT, the DPP announced plans to rename the giant Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei as the “Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall”, and tear down the sanctuary’s perimeter wall. The central government dropped “China” from the names of many state enterprises last month. There is talk of removing Chiang’s portrait from Taiwanese coins…

The government should leave the CKS Memorial as it is. The man should no longer be revered as a god. However, regardless of how we decide to evaluate his 26-year reign, Chiang is already and will forever remain an integral part of Taiwan’s history.


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  1. Chiang Kai-Shek was one of the greatest chinese leaders ever he learned from Sun Yat-Sen who is like a god. Taiwan should be disgraced for not honoring Chiang. What’s next they start honoring that fucker Mao.

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