1975–1988 Building a Monument to an Authoritarian
After President Chiang Kai-shek passed away on April 5, 1975, the Executive Yuan established the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Preparatory Committee and selected the current site, which had originally been planned to host a modern commercial center. The memorial was completed and opened to the public on April 4, 1980. In July 1986, authority over the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was moved from the Taipei City Department of Education to the Ministry of Education.
The park, imitating ancient Chinese imperial palaces and landscape gardens, became a place to remember President Chiang Kai-shek and reshape the worship of him as an authoritarian leader. Here, a variety of arts and cultural activities were held and publications released around themes such as “Remembering Lord Chiang” and “Our Eternal Leader.” On the anniversaries of his birth and death, major events were held in commemoration, and when prominent overseas Chinese returned to Taiwan they would make a special point of visiting the memorial. Such events became important and repeated rituals.
The Memorial Hall holds a special exhibition of the paintings of Chiang Kai-shek.
President Chiang Kai-shek’s car is delivered to the memorial hall by the Presidential Office on October 13, 1988, to be displayed in the lower hall (now the Central Hallway).
The Memorial Hall photography collection “The Glory of History” is completed.
The garden stone in the Camellia area of the Memorial Park is carved with four characters in the calligraphy of President Chiang Kai-shek reading “wu wang zai ju,” a phrase referring to the restoration of an all-but-destroyed kingdom during the Warring States period meant to serve as an inspiration to the people of the Republic of China. In addition, the large stone by the Guang Hua Pond is inscribed with another four-character phrase, “yin shui si yuan,” or “when drinking water, remember its source.”
The Memorial Hall holds a special exhibition in memory of the recently passed President Chiang Ching-kuo.
President Chiang Ching-kuo passes away. The Memorial Hall flag is flown at half-mast, music is stopped, and a mourning hall is set up at the entrance of the Cultural Relics Exhibition Room (renamed the Permanent Exhibitions Hall in 2022) for employees and visitors alike to mourn.
Mr. Ryo Masuda provides the Memorial Hall with two pieces of President Chiang Kai-shek’s calligraphy and two photographs for exhibition, one reading “heng sao qian jun,” or “sweeping aside a thousand armies,” and the other “pingdeng,” or “equality.” These had been in Mr. Masuda’s collection for some 60 years, and he had personally ground the ink for the President’s calligraphy.
In cooperation with the KMT Party History Committee’s Relics and Publicity of Our Eternal Leader Group, the Memorial Hall holds a special exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of Chiang Kai-shek’s leadership in the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The Memorial Hall holds an exhibition on Chiang Kai-shek’s legacy calligraphy.
1. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Chiang Kai-shek’s birth, about 50,000 representatives from throughout society, including overseas Chinese, hold a commemoration presided over by Madame Chiang herself.
2. The inaugural “Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Quarterly” is published.
3. The Memorial Hall completes work on a multimedia slideshow entitled “Eternal Benevolence.”
The Organization Guidelines of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Management Office is passed by presidential decree.
The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Management Office is moved to the authority of the Ministry of Education, with a ceremony held in the Film Room (renamed the Auditorium in 2017) that afternoon.
Governor of Taiwan Province Chiu Chuang-huan leads the mayors and magistrates of various cities and counties to plant 3 sago palms and 24 hoop pines in the Hubei Ecological Area to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Chiang Kai-shek’s birth.
The Memorial Hall dispatches staff to the Central Bank to retrieve official documents and related items of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Preparatory Committee before the bank takes them into permanent custody.
Former President Yen Chia-kan presides over the 10th anniversary commemoration of President Chiang Kai-shek’s death. The Memorial Hall specially compiles a commemorative publication, “Eternal Memory,” and a multimedia slideshow.
The Memorial Hall completes work on three photography collections, “President Chiang and Taiwan,” “President Chiang and China,” and “President Chiang and the World.”
Mao Lien-wen, director of the Taipei City Bureau of Education, visits the Memorial Hall to guide the premiere of the multimedia slideshow “Our Eternal Leader.”
The Cultural Corridor (now demolished) is completed.
Leadership of the Management Office changes hands, with second director Wang Hsi-chang stepping down and turning over the reins to Hsieh Yi, with Taipei City Bureau of Education Director Mao Lien-wen presiding.
About 2,000 people, including civil and military officials and the wife of Japanese politician Nobusuke Kishi, attend the commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the death of President Chiang Kai-shek, presided over by former President Yen Chia-kan.
Master of traditional Chinese painting Chang Dai-chien gifts 12 flowering apricot trees from Japan to the Memorial Hall.
The Chinese Cultural Renaissance Movement Promotion Committee holds the opening ceremony for the Blossom Festival, hosted by former President Yen Chia-kan.
Leadership of the Management Office changes hands, with first director Luo Peng stepping down and turning over the reins to Wang Hsi-chang, with Taipei City Bureau of Education Director Mao Lien-wen presiding.
At 7:00 am on this day, the China Television Co. (CTV) stages the “Our Eternal Leader Chorus of Thousands” on the Boulevard of Homage (renamed Democracy Boulevard in 2007), bringing together more than 50,000 people.
The painter Mr. Chang Chi-yu donates an oil painting entitled “Portrait of the Lord Chiang in Military Uniform.”
Japanese political figure Ryoichi Sasakawa gifts 110 koi fish, which are accepted by General He Yingqin.
The two ponds, Guang Hua and Yun Han, have rocks engraved with inscriptions by famous engraver Tai Hai-feng.
At the 2nd meeting of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Steering Committee, it is decided that the two ponds on either side of the park should be named Guang Hua Pond and Yun Han Pond.
The official government seal of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Management Office goes into use.
At the 19th meeting of the Preparatory Committee, a report on the settlement of all construction project expenses is passed, and it is decided that the committee’s task is complete as construction of the Memorial Hall has been completed.
Nearly 20,000 returned overseas Chinese who participated in October celebrations visit the Memorial Hall, with President Chiang Ching-kuo giving a welcome speech.
General He Yingqin, a member of the Steering Committee, who had dedicated himself to raising hundreds of koi together with fellow member Zhao Juyu, stocks them in Da Zhong Pond (now Guang Hua Pond).
The Executive Yuan approves the Organization Regulations for the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Management Office and the related organizational chart.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Management Office is established and put under the auspices of the Taipei City Government. Former Director of the Preparatory Committee Luo Peng is assigned the role of acting director of the Management Office.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Steering Committee is established and holds its first meeting, deciding that the Management Office will be transferred to the auspices of the Taipei City Government from July 1, 1980.
Two building use licenses applied for by the Engineering Agency are received.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Management Office Preparatory Committee and the Construction Office carry out the procedures for taking over the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and its ancillary facilities, supervised by the Preparatory Committee.
The Preparatory Committee establishes the Relics and Publicity of Our Eternal Leader Group, made up of members of the KMT Party History Committee.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall officially opens for visitors.
The inauguration ceremony for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the death of former President Chiang are held on the Boulevard of Homage (renamed Democracy Boulevard in 2007).
The Preparatory Committee is formed as a non-profit corporation, with articles of association and establishment drawn up following the model set by the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Construction of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is completed.
The Preparatory Committee office moves into the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in the morning.
The front archway, side archways, corridors, and corner pavilions are completed.
Second wave of service personnel is selected.
First wave of service personnel is selected.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Management Office Preparatory Committee is formed.
Luo Peng is named the head of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Management Office Preparatory Committee.
In conjunction with the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Open Day exhibition design, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Showroom Project Team invites Chiang Fu-ts’ung, Ho Hao-tien, Chou Ying-lung, Lin Ko-cheng, Liu An-tao, and Lee Yun-han to hold a Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Exhibition Design Consultant Symposium.
Construction of the front archway, side archways, corridors, and corner pavilions starts.
At the 15th meeting of the Preparatory Committee, it is decided that the height of the front archway will be 30 meters and the height of the perimeter wall will be six meters, with the style of the perimeter corridors and Chinese lantern windows also adopted.
The Bronze Statue of Lord Chiang Steering Committee is established, with Jiang Yan-shr as the convener.
The 13th meeting of the Preparatory Committee decides to approve the Key Points of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park Design.
Construction is officially started on the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, with the structural part of the project begun first.
The Preparatory Committee and Chen Yi-fan sign the Contract for the Commission of the Molding of the Bronze Statue of Chiang Kai-shek for Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
The Preparatory Committee and He Mu sign the Contract for the Commission of the Design of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Park.
The foundation piles for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are completed.
The phased demolition of the existing buildings of the site, divided into four areas, is completed.
On behalf of the Preparatory Committee and the Northern District Office of the National Property Administration, Ministry of Finance, the Retired Servicemen’s Engineering Agency handles the handover of the original buildings and facilities of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall site.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is held at 11 am.
The Steering Committee for the Preparation of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is established.
At the 8th meeting of the Preparatory Committee, the design proposals for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are reviewed by experts, and it is decided that the design from Yang Cho-cheng of He Mu Architects is to be accepted.
At the 7th meeting of the Preparatory Committee, it is decided to hire a total of seven domestic and foreign experts and scholars to review the designs for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
The phased demolition of the existing buildings on the site, divided into four areas, is begun.
At the 5th meeting of the Preparatory Committee, five teams of architects are selected after evaluation of proposed design plans for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Review of the publicly solicited design plans for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is completed.
The Preparatory Committee receives a total of 43 design plan proposals for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Park.
The Preparatory Committee announces a call for designs for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in the Central Daily News and United Daily News.
In accordance with the Regulations for Raising Funds for the Construction of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, branches and sub-branches of the Bank of Taiwan and Post Office begin accepting donations from the public.
At the 1st meeting of the Preparatory Committee, land in the Yingbianduan area of Taipei City is selected as the site for the Memorial Hall.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Preparatory Committee is established.
The Executive Yuan approves the establishment of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Preparatory Committee.