'Retake the Mainland': Chiang Kai-shek bronze marches on Zhejiang hometown

By Ryan Kilpatrick, January 13, 2015

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A bronze statue of China's Republican-era leader Chiang Kai-shek is making its way across the Taiwan Strait to the Generalissimo's hometown in Zhejiang Province. 

The 1.5-meter-tall equestrian statue, sculpted by award-winning Taiwanese artist Hsieh Tong-liang, will be erected in the town of Xikou, Fenghua County in March this year. 

Whereas being the Kuomintang leader's hometown was once a shameful albatross around Xikou's neck, the east China town is now turning itself into a vast Republic of China theme park, hoping to attract tourists from around China as well as across the Taiwan Strait. 

So how would China's wartime leader feel about being transplanted to Red China? In a word: conflicted.

In Taiwan, officially the last remaining stronghold of the Republic of China, statues of Chiang have been the primary targets the 'de-Chiang-ification' wave sweeping the island nation after the 2007 election of its first pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party government, hitting a crescendo with the 2007 re-naming of Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Plaza to Liberty Square. 

Chiang statues have since been dismantled by civic authorities as well as defaced by those who decry his legacy of violent, autocratic rule on the island and variously mocked by new generations to whom the prospect of unification with mainland China is as undesirable as it is unlikely. 

In his new home in the People's Republic, it's entirely probable (not to mention ironic) that the strongman Nationalist leader and One China diehard will receive more deferential treatment than he would back 'home' - wherever that is...

[Images via Apple Daily, Hong Kong Economic Journal, SETN]

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