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September 22, 2017

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Tainan statue issue could easily be solved with a referendum

Trong Chai, a Democratic Progressive Party legislative who died in January, is known better as Chai Gong-tou (蔡公投) or Referendum Chai, because he had advocated a referendum to create a Republic of Taiwan. He found an heir in Tsay Ting-kuei, a retired National Taiwan University professor who founded the Taiwan Referendum Alliance (公投護台灣聯盟). Literally translated, the TRA is the Alliance for Safeguarding Taiwan by Referendum.

Dr. Tsay is much more activist than Dr. Chai. He organized a four-year-long sit-in near the Legislative Yuan, led a crowd to throw a pair of shoes at President Ma Ying-jeou on Human Rights Day last year, and got more than 100 of his TRA members to smear and pull down a bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen at the Tang De-zhang Park in Tainan on Feb. 22. Dr. Sun founded the Kuomintang that toppled the Qing Dynasty in the Chinese Revolution of 1911 to found the Republic of China.

Apparently, the smearing and pulling down of the 600-kilogram statue doesn't have anything to do with a referendum to safeguard Taiwan. It's just an act of vandalism. That's why he was arrested on charges of destruction of public property, but released immediately afterwards.

However, Dr. Tsay has a grudge against the Republic of China. So, he had placards of "R.O.C. Out" and "KMT Down" displayed during the desecration at the public park so renamed in memory of a victim of the Feb. 28 Incident of 1947. Tang was one of tens of thousands of innocent Taiwanese people slaughtered in the suppression of spontaneous riots that broke out on that day 67 years ago. Incidentally, he was an illegitimate son of Japanese policeman Arai Shinzo, killed in the Dabani Incident of 1915, an uprising against the Japanese colonial government.

The city of Tainan wants to relocate the statue from the Tang De-zhang Park to another park. But the removal was opposed by Tainan's Kuomintang councilers. When the removal was about to start last year, they and their supporters staged a long vigil to guard the statue of the founder of their party. Dr. Tsay didn't like the statue in the park in memory of the 228 Incident victim, and decided to have it pulled down.

Isn't it better for Dr. Tsay to initiate a local referendum to remove the statue of Dr. Sun, whose party has continued to govern Taiwan after eight years of the DPP rule?

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