Taiwan’s Blue Camp pays respects on the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of Chiang Kai-shek

Tuesday, April 5, 2005 Translated from report by: Zhang Yongtai (Voice of America/ Taipei)

Chiang Kai-chek, former President of the Republic of China died thirty years ago today.

In order to remember the passing away of Taiwan's former leader, the opposition parties of the Pan Blue Camp used the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday to visit Chiang’s tomb and pay respects. However the Democratic Progressive Party government did not hold any similar activities.

The chairs of Taiwan’s opposition parties, the Kuomintang (KMT), New Party (NP) and People First Party (PFP) used the Tomb Sweeping Day break to lead trips to the Taoyuan county Tzuhu and Touliao mausoleums (resting spots of Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo respectably.) Because the bodies of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo are planned to be moved to Wutzushan military cemetery in Taipei County in August of this year, the opportunity to visit the tombs of the two former leaders is almost gone.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pays no visits to Chiang’s tomb

During the rule of the Kuomintang government, visiting the tombs was a major event, presidents lead the chiefs of the five branches of the government in a memorial at the tombs. Though following Taiwan's gradual shift towards democracy the visits to the tombs have become more and more simple and forlorn. After the Kuomintang lost control of the government the event even became an activity only for the Pan Blues; the DPP government not only didn’t visit the tombs, they didn’t even hold similar ceremonies.

Lien Chan: “would be pleased to visit the mainland”

Because KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun’s recent visit to mainland China caused such mixed reactions in the political arena, the question of when KMT Chair Lien Chan would visit the Chinese mainland was also a hot topic. After paying his respects Lien expressed that he was honored by the invitation to visit the mainland, but a time frame for the visit is still awaiting further confirmation: "I would be pleased to accept such of visit, and go on a 'journey of peace, the time (of the trip) should be in the near future, as for how to determine the time for certain, it will require contact from both sides to decide."

James Soong: don’t rush

As for the People First Party chair James Soong, who in the month of February held talks with President Chen Shui-bian in the so-called “Chen-Soong meeting”, appeared conservative in answering questions about himself visiting China: “Which party wants to rush to go first, the PFP wont do like others did and try to go against the policy, today we hope to place policy before politics.”

Soong also said that the relationship between Taiwan and mainland China is very complex, and the KMT and DPP both can’t solve the problem within fifty years or five years. The PFP hopes that both sides of the Taiwan Strait can benefit; he said he believes that a relationship between the two sides is not a one-sided wish, and hopes it can take place in an atmosphere in which both sides desire not to encroach on the dignity of Taiwan. Soong also stated that he will soon be able to meet with Chen Shui-bian and Lien Chan to discuss the Taiwan Strait situation.

John Chiang: tombs should become a “tomb containing clothing without the body,”

Also worth mentioning is the discussion about what will be done with the mausoleums of the two Chiangs once their bodies are moved to Wutzushan military cemetery. John Chiang, Chiang Ching-kuo’s illegitimate son, said that he hopes the Taoyuan County government will be able to maintain the original spirit and cultural spirit of the mausoleums. He also suggested that once the bodies are moved, the tombs become a “tomb containing clothing without the body,” and hopes the places will remain open to the public so they can remember the ways of their predecessors.