Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-22 04:36 PM
The action was a symbolic protest against the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan according to the ruling Kuomintang. The protesters painted the letters “ROC out” on the back of the effigy.
The action came in the week leading up to the 67th anniversary of the so-called “228 Incident,” the uprising against KMT corruption which led to thousands of deaths and years of brutal repression known as the White Terror.
More than 50 members of the “Referendum to Protect Taiwan Alliance” traveled down from Taipei to the southern city’s Tang Te-chang Memorial Park. They fixed ropes to the statue, which was reportedly a protected monument, and pulled it down. With white and red paint, they marked the back of the effigy with the English words “ROC Out!”
After they learned about the incident, a handful of Kuomintang members of the Tainan City Council arrived on the scene and blamed police for allowing the statue to be torn down. Two councilors reportedly struck an officer.
The KMT also blamed Mayor William Lai, a prominent member of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, for failing to take action, reports said. The politicians asked that the police detain the leader of the pro-Taiwan Independence alliance, Tsai Ting-kuei, on the spot for damaging public property.
The group wants to remove all obvious references to the KMT and to its former leaders, including President Chiang Kai-shek, who ruled Taiwan from 1945 until 1975, the period marked by repression and by the imposition of Martial Law.
The action in Tainan also follows renewed controversy over Taiwan’s high-school textbooks. The government approved changes replacing references to “Taiwan” and “China” by the terms “Republic of China” and “Mainland China,” while the Japanese period was emphasized as a colonial era.
Both the DPP and the smaller Taiwan Solidarity Union have called for a national conference of teachers and history experts to reach a consensus before the changes are introduced, but the government claims it is already too late and the “minor tweaks” to the books follow the wording of the Constitution.
The revisions were reportedly drawn up by a committee which did not include any historians, though a number of its members have been described as radical proponents of unification with China.