Taiwan's new government reopens Chiang Kai-shek mausoleum
Thousands of Taiwanese streamed to the mausoleum of late Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) leader Chiang Kai-shek, reopened Saturday after being shut down by the former government, dpa reported.
A long line of visitors, young and old, were shown by Taiwanese television queuing in front of the shrine to pay respects to the late leader, who ruled Taiwan from 1949 to 1975.
"The DPP is dreadful, it is dreadful," a sobbing elderly visitor was quoted as saying by cable news network TVBS condemning the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government for shutting down the mausoleum in Taoyuan outside Taipei in late December.
He was among a number of emotional elderly visitors who had followed the Chiang Kai-shek troops to Taiwan in 1949.
The shut down was part of a campaign by the pro-independence DPP government to erase the legacy of the late Chiang and cut the island's historic link with China, before the DPP lost power to the KMT in the March presidential election.
After KMT's Ma Ying-jeou was sworn in as president on May 20, the Taoyuan county government - whose leader Chu Li-lun is also a KMT member - decided to reopen from Saturday the mausoleums of both Chiang and his son, late President Chiang Ching-kuo, also closed by the DPP government.
Before their closure, the mausoleums were a tourist attraction that had helped Taoyuan county net millions of dollars a year.
The reopening is expected to attract Chinese tourists, who will be allowed to visit Taiwan from July 4 under a plan by the KMT government.
The mausoleums have been known as a must-see attraction for Chinese visitors curious about the two late leaders, whose KMT government ruled China for several decades before the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Chiang Kai-shek's KMT government ruled Taiwan with an iron fist after losing control of China to the Communists and fleeing across the Taiwan Strait.
Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975 and was succeeded by his son, who died in 1988.
The DPP government ordered the shutdown on the grounds that Chiang Kai-shek was responsible for sending troops to suppress an uprising in Taiwan in 1947. Tens of thousands of locals were killed two years before the KMT fled to Taiwan.