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Taiwan to dump signs of authoritarian past

2017-12-06 HKT 19:19
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  • Tourists walk past statues of the late nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek at a park in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan. Photo: AFP
    Tourists walk past statues of the late nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek at a park in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan. Photo: AFP
Tributes to Taiwan's former dictator Chiang Kai-shek will be removed across the island after lawmakers voted in favour of the mandatory axing of symbols of its authoritarian past.

The so-called "transitional justice" bill, which was passed late on Tuesday, means that streets and schools will be renamed and statues taken down.

It also paves the way for a full investigation into Chiang's "White Terror" – a purge of his political opponents between 1947 and his death in 1975.

Campaigners have long called for the names of unjustly jailed or executed victims to be cleared and perpetrators exposed. The bill said that authoritarian rule should be "stripped of legitimacy" as it violated freedom and democracy.

"For this purpose, institutions, schools, public buildings and spaces should be prohibited from displaying any commemorative symbols of authoritarian rule," it said.

"Related symbols and signs should also be removed, renamed, or otherwise disposed of."

President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to ratify the bill within the next two weeks.

Public statues of Chiang are regularly attacked and hundreds now lie discarded in the grounds of his mausoleum outside Taipei.

Since Tsai's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took the leadership and a majority in parliament from the Kuomintang (KMT) in elections in 2016, it has targeted Chiang's legacy. (AFP)