Monday, September 05, 2005

Taiwan No Longer a Temporary Home

Late Presidents Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo will be laid to rest next March or April, according to the Taipei Times. It is understandable if some readers are confused by this fact. After all, CKS died in 1975 and CCK died in 1988.

Upon CKS's death, he was temporarily entombed in Taoyuan. I say temporarily because his body was just 'awaiting proper burial in China.' Likewise, his son was temporarily buried nearby upon his death. The state funeral at Wuchih Mountain in Taipei County is being conducted in accordance with requests by CCK's widow (who has since passed) and other members of the Chiang family.

This burial is interesting because of the symbolism of permanently burying Mr. "Retake the Mainland" himself on the island of Taiwan (as opposed to the Zhejiang Province of China, where he wanted to be buried).

This could be viewed simply as satisficing and being pragmatic. As the Italian Asia News put it:
With the likelihood of Taiwanese forces conquering the mainland non-existent, the family finally decided to bury the two former presidents in Taiwan.

On the other hand, in Taiwan everything has political ramifications. The former presidents were being temporarily interred as a reminder to the people of their history and their mission to retake the mainland. That reminder will now end and hopefully the counterproductive notion among the KMT diehards that Taiwan is but a temporary foothold will end as well.