President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) speech at the opening ceremony of the Chiang Ching-kuo Presidential Library and the Ching-kuo Chi-hai Cultural Park on Saturday defeated the purpose of the government’s transitional justice policy and contradicted her past remarks on the issue, the New Power Party (NPP) caucus said yesterday.
In her speech, Tsai recognized former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) as a steadfast defender of Taiwan.
“While some remember the economic development and the sense of security that he helped foster and facilitate, others regard him as part of the authoritarian regime,” Tsai said.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said Tsai should not have downplayed the hurt and pain brought by the authoritarian regime.
“Taiwan does not become the country we know today because it is against communism. Rather, it is sustained through its continual support for freedom and democracy, which was realized through the sacrifices of many. As such, there is no room for compromise when it comes to authoritarianism,” Chiu told a news conference in Taipei.
The park and presidential library are run by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, Chiu said, adding that one of the foundation’s board members is Academia Sinica’s Laurance Lau (劉遵義), who served as president of Chinese University of Hong Kong and was a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The CPPCC is a political advisory body of the Chinese government and a central part of the Chinese Communist Party’s “united front” system, he said.
“Nearly 40 percent of the foundation’s funding comes from the Taiwanese government. Is it appropriate for such an organization to appoint someone who was a CPPCC member?” Chiu asked.
Despite the government funding, the foundation’s budget is not subject to review by the Legislative Yuan, as the government owns less than a 50 percent stake in the foundation, he said.
Fu Jen Catholic University history professor Chen Chun-kai (陳君愷) said the establishment of a cultural park that is named after Chiang goes against the transitional justice policy the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been promoting.
An objective evaluation of Chiang’s life is only possible by putting it into a historical context, he said.
“Chiang’s life was closely linked to the February 28 incident in 1947 and the White Terror era, which occurred when his father, Chiang Kai-shek [蔣介石], was at the helm,” Chen said. “A large number of people who disagreed with the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] government were killed when Taiwan was under Chiang Kai-shek’s rule, and the persecution of political dissenters did not ease until Chiang Ching-kuo came to power.”
Chiang Ching-kuo then shifted his focus to brainwashing people, launching the Chinese Culture Renaissance Movement in the 1960s, as well as massive government propaganda, Chen said.
“On the surface, he began recruiting young Taiwanese and cultivated them to be politicians. In reality, he was suppressing the promotion of Taiwanese culture. His brainwashing campaign was so thorough and effective that many people still remember him as a good leader,” Chen said, adding that the DPP should consider if such a dictator is worth remembering at all.
NPP Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) said Tsai in 2009 accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of unilaterally mythologizing Chiang Ching-kuo’s accomplishments and ignoring the contributions of Taiwanese.
The president was also mythologizing Chiang Ching-kuo by praising him as a defender of Taiwan, Wang said.
“The DPP cannot uphold the legitimacy of its transitional justice policy while recognizing the ‘accomplishments of the authoritarian regime,’” Wang said.
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