9:37pm, 6 December 2007
4:52pm, 7 December 2007
5:26pm, 7 December 2007
5:28pm, 7 December 2007
Just before darkness fell on Taipei City this evening two workmen completed the removal of the four characters 大中至正 (dàzhōng zhìzhèng) from the main gate of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (國立臺灣民主紀念館). It was the latest step in the renaming of the Hall. Back in May the central government changed the name from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念館) to Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. The four characters on the main gate also refer to Chiang Kai-shek. The government plans to replace them with 自由廣場 (zìyóu guǎngchǎng), which means Freedom Square.
A crowd of a few hundred people and a huge media contigent gathered to watch the historic occassion. There was a small number protesting the change, while the vast majority were either in support or just wanting to witness the moment. There was also a large police presence and they formed a wall across the middle of the area in front of the gate. The red and blue protesters were kept on one side and the green supporters on the other.
A few other bloggers have commented on the name change. Michael Turton has written about AFP reporting on the issue. At Taiwan Matters Feiren has a post on the incident yesterday were several people were hit by a truck and one person was seriously injured. Spinning the Globe witnessed the incident. Tim Maddog also has some comments about this and other issues.
Earlier this year I wrote about some of my ideas for transforming the space around the Hall. However, I know that many people in Taipei have a sense of attachment to the Hall. While I support the removal of the references to Chiang Kai-shek, I think more thought could have been given to the new names and there should have been some sort of process of consultation. Your comments and opinions are most welcome on this blog!