KMT condemns toppling of Sun Yat-sen statue
CNA Monday, February 24, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TAIPEI--Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday condemned the vandalism of a bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), founding father of the Republic of China, in Tainan, Southern Taiwan, and called for a rational view of the country's history.
The 3-meter-tall statue at Tang De-jhang Memorial Park in downtown Tainan was pulled down Saturday by members of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, a pro-independence group, to the consternation of KMT city councilors.
The KMT gravely condemns the vandalism, Fan Chiang Tai-chi, head of the KMT Culture and Communication Committee, said in a statement.
"The opposition Democratic Progressive Party-ruled city government's failure to properly maintain a historic monument and protect cultural assets is regrettable," Fan Chiang said, calling for restoration of the statue as soon as possible.
Sun Yat-sen established the first democratic country in Asia in 1911 and left a significant legacy of advocacy for democracy, human rights and freedom, Fan Chiang said.
"It's deeply regrettable that a small group of people have defaced Sun's statue in a non-democratic action," he said.
The KMT hopes people will view history in a rational manner and refrain from radical actions that could stir up ethnic conflict and disrupt social harmony, Fan Chiang added.
He was referring to the 228 Incident, an anti-government uprising in 1947 and subsequent brutal crackdown by the then KMT-led government.
In 1997, the Tainan City Government converted a historic park into the Tang De-jhang Memorial Park in commemoration of Tang De-jhang (1907-1947), a Tainan citizen and lawyer who was executed by the KMT military forces on charges of rebellion during the crackdown.
On Saturday, the Sun Yat-sen statue in the park was smeared with paint and pulled down by pro-independence advocates, led by Tsay Ting-kuei, convener of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan.
As Peace Memorial Day approaches on Feb. 28, "we want to take action to show our support for the 228 victims," Tsay said.
Tsay was arrested for damaging public assets and disrupting public order but was released after questioning. The police later decided to send the case to prosecutors.
City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh, who is also a member of the KMT's policy-making Central Standing Committee, blasted the city government and police, saying they had allowed "mobs" to topple the statue and he called for its restoration.
The city government, meanwhile, expressed regret over the incident, saying it was not in keeping with the city's plans to restore historic sites that dated back to the era of Japanese occupation (1895-1945).
The local government said its historic architecture and cultural landscape commission is carrying out a study, after which a decision will be made on whether to restore the statue.
The city government had planned to relocate the statue last year, but was forced to put the plan on hold due to strong opposition by KMT politicians and supporters.
The bronze Sun Yat-sen statue was erected in the city in 1964 based on a decision by the Tainan City Council, according to a previous city councilors association.
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