The photos included in this post are of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-shek the founding Chinese father of Taiwan is understood nationally as a notorious military leader and national symbol. This week history is being re-written as his name and likeness is being removed from Taiwan’s public eye. While I have only been living here for five months and understand little about Kai-shek’s true meaning in Taiwanese culture- I still find this event shocking. The name of Taiwan’s main airport Chiang Kai-shek International Airport may be changed to “ Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.” Moreover, Kai-shek’s sublime memorial that dominates Taipei may be moved to Taoyuan and renamed Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. At the moment the Taiwan military is taking down all public statues Kai-shek to mark the anniversary of the “228 incident” a day where thousands of innocent Taiwan civilians were killed under Kai-shek’s orders.
Yesterday, I mentioned these current events to my adult students who were studying for the EILS test. They told me they felt happy with the news of Kai-shek’s lowering public profile in favor of a more politically independent Taiwan. Many Taiwanese look forward to Taiwan assuming its independence from China and are glad to see any associations with Kai-shek be put to rest in the past.