Gone with the wind: statue hailing former premier of mainland China as a Taiwanese hero is taken down following outcry
Firm erects statue of mainland’s ex-premier for his ‘love’ of island, then removes it following public anger
The mainland’s former premier Wen Jiabao was hailed a Taiwanese hero – albeit briefly – yesterday when a local advertising company executive unveiled his statue at an entombment park in the island’s northern port city of Keelung.
Visitors to the park were taken aback when they saw that a bronze statue of Wen stood in the park with his right hand holding a pair of shoes, Taiwanese media reported.
“Wen opened tourism and exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait during his tenure, creating many job opportunities for Taiwanese people,” Lin Kun-ming, the executive, was quoted as saying by SET cable television.
“We made him a hero because he loved Taiwan,” he said. The Taiwanese public should be grateful to him for his contributions to the island, he added.
The park’s president Chen Chen-feng told Taiwan’s Central News Agency the island was a free society and the public should view the statue with an open mind.
Taiwanese politicians and some netizens said erecting a statue of Wen and making him a Taiwanese hero made no sense.
“Though the park is a private establishment, and anyone in Taiwan has the freedom to advocate what they believe, I personally think this is improper. Public opinion is divided over whether Wen is a
Taiwanese hero,” said Tsai Shih-ying, a legislator of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Keelung mayor Lin Yu-chang of the DPP also demanded the advertisement company take down the statue.
“I think it is absurd and carries a negative perception among the public,” he was quoted as saying by SET TV.
Lin said that they agreed to remove the statue after his company took a unanimous decision.