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Wen Jiabao statue removed from private park in Keelung

2016/04/28 11:41:58

(Left: Wednesday / Right: Thursday)

Taipei, April 28 (CNA) A statue of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) erected in a private cultural park in Keelung has been removed, less than a day after it was formally unveiled and introduced to the public as a "Taiwan hero."

The statue, which depicts a barefoot Wen holding a pair of leather shoes, was apparently not the type of thing that Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌), a member of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, would be fond of. He said Wednesday that it was "highly improper" to present a former Chinese leader as a hero of Taiwan.

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

The statue is no longer in the place where it stood the previous day, replaced by a pine tree.

The statue had drawn heated debate online since it was shown to the public under the title of "Taiwan Hero" at the Yong Heng Creative Culture Park.

Many of those invited to attend the opening ceremony, including reporters and local officials, seemed surprised when they saw the figure of Wen Jiabao.

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

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

During Wen's tenure as premier from 2003-2013, China began allowing Chinese people to travel to Taiwan for sight-seeing visits. He stepped down in March 2013.

(By Wang Chao-yu and Elizabeth Hsu)