Tourists pass by statues of the nationalist dictator Tchang Kai-chek on August 23 in Taiwan
The symbols raised to the glory of the former Taiwanese nationalist Chang Kai-chek will be removed on the island after the approval of a law destined to close the chapter of his authoritarian past.
The Taiwanese deputies approved on Tuesday night a law on „transitional justice“ that provides for the mandatory withdrawal of all symbols of homage and monuments dedicated to that controversial character. Statues will be demolished and the name of many streets and schools will be changed.
The law also opens the way to a thorough investigation into the „White Terror“ that reigned in Taiwan since 1949, when the Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists fled mainland China after their defeat in front of Mao Zedong’s communist troops.
From 1949 to 1987, when martial law was repealed, thousands of people judged hostile to the government were tortured and killed under Chang and his son.
Some Taiwanese have been campaigning for a long time to clear the names of the people who were unjustly imprisoned and the victims executed, and for the authors to be publicly denounced.
The authoritarian government of Chang Kai-chek must be „purged of all legitimacy,“ because it violates freedom and democracy, the law affirms.
„To this end, institutions, schools, buildings and public spaces will not be able to count on commemorative symbols of the authoritarian reign,“ the text reads. „The symbols and signs that are relative to it must be removed, renamed or deleted.“
President Tsai Ing-wen will have to ratify the law in the next two weeks.