1989–2002 Deconstructing an Authoritarian Space through People Power
In the 1980s, dissident forces outside of the ruling KMT continued to coalesce, frequently taking to the streets to challenge prohibitions, clashing with party and media bans, and demanding the lifting of martial law. On September 28, 1986, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was founded, and on July 15, 1987, martial law was lifted, with media restrictions lifted on January 1 the following year. The people of Taiwan’s pursuit of freedom and democracy was ascendant, and the venue of choice for mass gatherings and demonstrations changed from the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, symbolic of their challenging of the established system.
During a rally on January 29, 1989, DPP members lowered the flag of the Republic of China that flies on the plaza, raising the DPP flag in its place. In June, Taiwanese gathered here to show solidarity with the Tiananmen student movement in China. In March of the following year, the Taiwan public, particularly students, gathered in the plaza in an event that marked the start of the Wild Lily Student Movement, which would go on to have a significant impact on the subsequent Taiwanese democracy movement. Since then, wave after wave of mass movements have written their pages in the history of Taiwan’s democratic movement here.
Through these, the people of Taiwan began to challenge and deconstruct the authoritarian connotations of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall through their collective power.
Since November 1993, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall has further taken on the task of promoting social education, launching a variety of social education classes and lifelong learning activities. However, elements of the “cult of authoritarianism” have continued to pervade the space.
The Memorial Hall organizes a series of activities entitled “The Legend of Mt. Chuyun—Campus Reconstruction since the 921 Earthquake,” showcasing the new campus movement and community spirit after the massive earthquake that struck the island in 1999.
The HCP Foundation holds public lectures in cooperation with the Memorial Hall.
The Memorial Hall holds a special calligraphy activity to welcome the Year of the Horse.
The Memorial Hall organizes its first “Winter Celebration—Happy Lunar New Year” activity, themed around the four seasons.
The “Winter Sunshine—The Last Paintings of Chen Jingsheng’s Hometown” exhibition is held in the Huai-en Gallery (renamed Gallery 1F in 2017) in cooperation with the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural & Educational Foundation.
A special reception for the 90th National Day of the Republic of China is hosted in the Central Hallway.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the Memorial Hall supports International Reading Day, staging “National Children’s Reading Week 2001—Come to the Land of Books.”
The “Happy Memorial Hall Children’s Short Essay Contest” is held, based on the theme of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and writers’ happiest memories, encouraging contributions from elementary school students.
In line with the Volunteer Service Act promulgated by the Ministry of the Interior on January 20, 2001, the Memorial Hall begins to recruit volunteers.
Leadership of the Management Office changes hands, with acting director Lei Hsin-min stepping down and turning over the reins to Tseng Kun-ti, with Deputy Minister of Education Lin Chao-hsien presiding.
Fifth director Chen Chung-hua steps down and turns over the reins to Lei Hsin-min, with Deputy Minister of Education Lin Chao-hsien presiding.
President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu lead civil and military officials laying down wreaths in tribute at the bronze statue of President Chiang Kai-shek, expressing their respect for previous heads of state.
The Memorial Hall holds the special exhibition “Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Modern China” in the Mei-ling Gallery (renamed Gallery 1F in 2017).
The Memorial Hall is awarded a first-class medal in the 1987 National Social Educational Institutions Evaluation.
The “Life Classroom” adult education program is renamed the “Lifelong Education Program” and begins collecting signup fees.
The Memorial Hall’s Boulevard of Homage (renamed Democracy Boulevard in 2007) hosts the Taipei International Color Guard Observation and Performance Conference.
The repair work for weathering and rusting on the lettering and corrosion on the rafters of the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness is completed.
The Memorial Hall wins an award for excellence in the 1986 Management and Safety Maintenance of Tourism Areas Assessment Competition.
The Memorial Hall holds its first Children’s Summer Camp.
The Children’s Classroom officially opens.
Promoting the movie “101 Dalmatians,” the blue tiles and white walls of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are covered in black and white dots using a giant projector.
The Memorial Hall stages the “Sent in Black and White” activity, with children encouraged to use their imaginations to complete sentences; more than 2,000 school children participate.
The CKSMH holds an exhibition of calligraphy honoring Chiang Kai-shek.
Leadership of the Management Office changes hands, with fourth director Chu Shao-tsung stepping down and turning over the reins to Chen Chung-hua, with Deputy Minister of Education Lee Chien-shin presiding.
The “Technical Workshop” is renamed the “Life Classroom” and opens for signups.
The Memorial Room of Former President Chiang Kai-shek (renamed the Permanent Exhibition Hall in 2022) is opened for viewing.
The Chung Cheng Gallery (renamed 1st Exhibition Hall in 2017) is officially opened and temporarily loaned to the National Taiwan Arts Education Institute.
1.The Lecture Hall (renamed the Auditorium in 2017), converted from the former Film Room, officially opens.
The first large-scale charity event is held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza, entitled “A Gift of Gratitude: Let Love Dance Together.”
Shek King-yee, an overseas Chinese leader from Hong Kong, donates a total of 14,773 books on literature, history, philosophy, and art which had been published in China.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Library (renamed simply the Library in 2009) is unveiled and opened to the public.
The Memorial Hall holds a special exhibition for the fifth anniversary of the passing of President Chiang Ching-kuo.
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre performs “Legacy” in the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza for the first time, to an audience of nearly 60,000.
A joint exhibition of calligraphy and painting commemorating the 17th anniversary of the passing of President Chiang Kai-shek is held at the Huai-en Gallery (renamed Gallery 1F in 2017).
Leadership of the Management Office changes hands, with third director Hsieh Yi stepping down and turning over the reins to Chu Shao-tsung.
The exhibition “The Life of Chiang Kai-shek in Painting” travels to Japan, touring Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Tokyo.
The Memorial Hall Reserved Area Reconstruction Committee is organized by the Retired Servicemen’s Engineering Agency, and a library and exhibition hall are established.
The Memorial Hall publishes “The Glory of History,” a collection of documents and images of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and its work over the previous decade.
An ad hoc meeting between the Memorial Hall and the National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Steering Committee is held, passing plans to set up a library on the west side of the Memorial Hall Reserved Area and an exhibition hall on the east.
A special exhibition commemorating the 15th anniversary of the death of President Chiang Kai-shek and the 10th anniversary of the Memorial Hall Management Office is held at the Huai-en Gallery (renamed Gallery 1F in 2017).
Nearly 6,000 college students hold a sit-in protest in the plaza of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall calling for the dissolution of the National Assembly and the abolition of the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion (which established martial law in Taiwan); before the protest concludes, the participants erect a “wild lily of democracy” in the plaza.
To celebrate the annual Lantern Festival, the Ministry of Transport and Communications Tourism Bureau organizes the Taipei Lantern Festival at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall for the first time, in the form of a large-scale festival with the theme of flying dragons.
Brothers Yao Chi-hsun and Yao Shih-hsun present a pair of marble lions to the Memorial Hall, with the unveiling ceremony held in front of the stone steps of the Boulevard of Homage (renamed Democracy Boulevard in 2007).
The “The Wounds of History” Fundraising Concert is held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza in support of the democracy movement in China.
The “Bonds of Blood” Fundraising Concert is held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza in support of the Tiananmen student movement in China.
In the afternoon, members of the Democratic Progressive Party hold a parade, entering the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness (in 2007, the inscription Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness was changed to Liberty Square), lowering the national flag and raising the party flag, with the former being returned to the Management Office by the honor guard.
Director Hsieh Yi presides over the “Spring Plum Exhibition and Plum Planting Ceremony,” with “Miss Plum Blossom” planting plum blossoms in the garden on the right side of the entrance of the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness.