This grand Memorial Hall was built in memory of President Chiang Kai Shek who died in 1975 making Taiwan what it is today. The Memorial Hall, Taipei, is located at the end of a large square an area of 240,000 square meters. Close to the western entrance is the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.
It was a wet rainy day when I went to visit so not too many tourists. I climbed the 89 steps, representing his age when he died, to the entrance of the Hall. In the great hall there’s a huge bronze statue in a seated position of him smiling and at all times guarded by two standing soldiers.
Within Taiwan there’s very little information about Chiang Kai Shek so it was only after I left I began to read about this period of history.
He was a former Chinese political and military leader under the Chinese Nationalist Party, but was defeated by Chairman Mao, so he fled to Taiwan arriving with 2 million nationists soldiers and their families from mainland China when the civil war ended.
He immediately tried to remake a society by eliminating the teachers and principals, the students, the lawyers, the doctors, anyone with an opinion and a voice. He held the philosophy that it was “better to kill a hundred innocent men than let one guilty go free.
He introduced martial law which lasted for 38 years and 57 days from 19 May 1949 to 15 July 1987. Taiwan’s period of martial law had been the longest period of martial law in the world at the time it was lifted.
It became punishable to speak Taiwanese as the government wanted to unify people with the language Mandarin. So much so that few people today are able to speak their national language.
He will always be remembered as the dictator who introduced martial law, imprisoned and murdered 1000s of Taiwanese, an era of their history they’d rather forget. The Taiwanese are trying to eradicate all mention of him and remove his name.
Updated 8th October 2017.