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China's Wen Jiabao likely to be one-day hero in Taiwan

2016/04/27 22:52:56

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) A statue of China's former Premier Wen Jiabao was unveiled as a "Taiwan Hero" at a private cultural park in Keelung on Wednesday, but under pressure from the local mayor, the statue is likely to remain there for just one day.

The unveiling of the statue appeared to have been a public relations stunt by Yong Heng Creative Culture Park, which invited the media to the ceremony, saying only that it was a statue of a "Taiwan hero."

Many of the people at the ceremony seemed surprised when they saw the statue, which depicts a barefooted Wen holding a pair of leather shoes.

●April 28: Wen Jiabao statue removed from private park in Keelung

At the base of the statue there are two Chinese characters that mean harmony, while on each side there is a couplet, one reading "Opened up Chinese tourism to Taiwan as part of China's Taiwan-friendly policy," and the other saying "Maintained cross-strait peace and expanded trade and economic exchanges."

They referred to cross-strait policies implemented during Wen's tenure as premier from 2003-2013.

"Anyone who has shown love for Taiwan is a Taiwan hero," said Lin Kun-ming (林坤明), president of an advertising company that designed and carried out the project.

"Wen opened up cross-strait trade and investments, creating a lot of job opportunities, so he is more than qualified to be called a Taiwan hero," Lin said.

Lin said Taiwan is an inclusive society that knows how to show gratitude to anyone who has contributed to its peace and prosperity.

"And I do believe harmony will be the most important thing in cross-strait relations in the future," he added.

However, Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said he thought it was "highly improper" to present a former Chinese leader as a Taiwan hero.

This gives people an "extremely bad" impression, Lin said, adding he has suggested to the park operator that the statue be removed as soon as possible. The operator "has agreed to dismantle the statue immediately," the mayor said.

Meanwhile, Chen Chen-feng (陳振豐), owner and CEO of the cultural park, urged the public to take an open-minded view of the issue, "like an ocean accepting all rivers and streams."

"I'm in the business of remembering life, hoping to give peace to the deceased, comfort to the living, and pleasure to visitors to this park irrespective of their nationalities, skin color or cultural background," Chen said.

His views were supported by some others, including DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應), who said he had no problem with the park's publicity scheme since it showed Taiwan to be a tolerant and multi-cultural society.

Tsai commended Wen's efforts to achieve "cross-strait harmony" and said China's current leadership should remember the former premier's work.

(By Wang Chao-yu and S.C. Chang)