Chiang Kai-shek will be removed from the Taiwanese currency

Chiang Kai-shek, long at the center of the China-Taiwan controversy, should be removed from Taiwanese banknotes and coins, a council has said.

This was determined by the report of a ministerial-level commission it presented to Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang on May 27.

Chiang was a military leader in the early 20th century and President of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1949 when the Communist revolution led by Mao Zedong forced him and his followers to flee to Taiwan. There they established a competing Chinese Nationalist government. This entity is not recognized as representing mainland China and the mainland government still claims sovereignty over the island. Chiang has long been seen as a staunch ally of the United States, not necessarily a hero of democracy, but a bitter enemy of communism.

The commission was established in 2019. Its report states that the purpose of paper money design is to promote symbols and values ​​that unify the nation and represent it to the outside world. According to the report, Chiang and Sun Yat-sen’s prominence over money is at odds with democratic standards because it places too much emphasis on political leadership and glorifies “strong men”. He added that Chiang’s “dictatorial” rule was responsible for “undermining the democratic constitutional order, using state violence and human rights abuses”. He continued: “Therefore, putting Chiang on coins and banknotes implies that an authoritarian is the unifying symbol of the nation and that his regime represents his values.”

Chiang is depicted on the $1 and $5 coins and on the $200 banknote.

The report was written because the government has a legal obligation to remove authoritarian symbols under the Transitional Justice Promotion Act. This supersedes central bank concerns about costs. He suggested that currency bearing Chiang’s image be withdrawn from circulation and replaced with new designs that will be chosen through a process that includes civic participation. He said the new designs should reflect the nation’s cultural uniqueness, natural landscape and progressive values ​​of cultural diversity, gender equality and environmentalism. It should also facilitate societal dialogue and the formation of national identity.

The report also called for the removal of statues that “venerate” authoritarians like Chiang.

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