by Tung Lie-Wei
I WAS ONCE A SUPPORTER of the KMT. When I was young I worshipped President Chiang Kai-shek’s heroic deeds in the war against Japan, appreciated his opposition to Communism, and was grateful for him founding Taiwan. At that time, I believed the White Terror only harmed those antisocial personalities who didn’t listen to the government, and that the government was teaching them how to be good people by arresting them, and that only by going along with the anticommunist policies of the government could one find prosperity.
As taught both in school and at home when i was young, in order to form myself as a “quality young party member,” my thoughts then were like Wang Bing-Chung’s today, I believed that the Republic of China was China proper, and that the CCP were shameless, filthy reactionaries. The patriotic songs of the Republic of China were all too familiar to me, whether they were《中華民國頌》、《中華之愛》、《鋼鐵的心》、《中國一定強》、 or《抗敵歌》.
I knew them all by heart. It was only in my second year of junior high school that the the “Chen Wei-ting Legislative Yuan Incident” happened in November of 2012 during the Anti-Media Monopoly movement. At the time because I was on campus standing for the interests of students in requesting teachers not to perform random searches. Because like this person, Chen Wei-ting, I had also been labeled as “impolite”, I got to know this person and came to know many fighters for democracy through him. Through his Facebook I got to know Chen Nan-Jung, Chen Wen-Chen, Huang Shin-chie, and others.
I was surprised at that time. For someone who had passed through the education of the party, it was hard to accept that this was the way of doing things in an established democracy. In the past I had always thought that our democracy had been established since the Guangzhou Uprising paid for in blood by seventy-two martyrs, the revolution established by the sacrifices of the young, and the Founding Father’s twelfth attempt at revolution; of course they had contributed to the present, but present day democracy was realized through the seeds of the Dangwai Movement.
I began to consider what I could do. I believed I could something to confront history, as this was, in reality, our responsibility. Because we thought it important to consider history, we began to read some of the stories of the great democracy fighters of the ages. Nelson Mandela was someone I especially came to admire, South America’s racial conflicts were more complex than ours, but we also had ethnic strife between the “mainlanders” and the “local” Taiwanese.
We decided we had to defuse opposition by removing Chiang Kai-shek’s statue from our campus. For families who had suffered from the White Terror, the image of Chiang Kai-shek remained as the icon of a figure of terror still. It would be a big move towards healing these enduring wounds to remove them.
I didn’t advocate behavior as pulling down the statues or defacing them with paint (though I wouldn’t oppose such behavior). Because I knew a lot of KMT members, I knew that in their hearts, Chiang Kai-shek was their God. If we defaced their God, we would provoke more opposition. I advocated removing the statues from campuses in a dignified fashion, so take this behavior as you will. The ethnic strife of the Hutus and Tutsis in Africa, after all, is what has resulted in present turmoil in Africa. I didn’t want to see the country I loved also become like this, I proposed using love in order to heal wounds: hatred couldn’t solve the problem, only love could.
The road to justice is long, we still have many roads to walk. The ways to do so are many, but I believe in the future in which Taiwan has achieved democracy.