The commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the death of Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), a trailblazer in the nation's democracy movement, brought together political leaders across party lines yesterday as they stressed the importance of democracy in Taiwan.
Vice President Annette Lu (
"Chiang Wei-shui dedicated himself to Taiwan's democratic movement for the duration of his life ? As we enjoy democracy and freedom in this country today, we should cherish the spirit he left behind," said Lu, addressing the ceremony held at Taipei's Ching Hsiu Girls' High School -- the original site of the headquarters of the Taiwan Cultural Association set up by Chiang.
The vice president also used the opportunity to promote the "blue sky, green land, good Taiwan" alliance, a cross-party association proposed by her to work for political stability by calling on the pan-blue alliance and the pan-green camp to reconcile for the sake of the nation's future.
"Chairman Ma represents the pan-blue camp and Premier Su is a member of the pan-green camp. Only the blue sky, green land alliance can make Taiwan better," she said.
The Taipei City Government has renamed the Chinhsi Park in the city's Tatung District the Chiang Wei-Shui Memorial Park. It is located near a hospital formerly run by Chiang.
Presiding over the inauguration, Ma detailed Chiang's contributions to the nation's democratic movement, and pledged to continue Chiang's efforts to pursue a democratic Taiwan, regardless of political affiliation or ethnic background.
"Chiang Wei-shui's dedication and contribution to Taiwan's democracy is truly an act of love for Taiwan," Ma said.
A man of letters, physician and forerunner of the Taiwanese nationalist movement under Japanese rule, Chiang was born in 1891 in Ilan County. In 1923, Chiang was incarcerated for the first time, accused of violating a security law after he united students and social leaders to oppose Japanese colonization under the banner of the Taiwan Cultural Association.
He later founded the Taiwan People's Party, the nation's first political party, in 1927. He also organized the New Taiwan Alliance and the Taiwanese Labor Alliance in a quest for a more liberal and independent state.
He was jailed 12 times during his lifetime and was eulogized as "the savior of Taiwanese" when he died in 1931 at the age of 40.
Former Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄), who initiated the memorial ceremony for Chiang five years ago, said that people from many sectors of society had used different methods to express their gratitude to the activist.
The Cabinet named the Taipei-Ilan freeway the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway, and the KMT also displayed a huge a poster featuring his achievements at its old headquarters, as Ma requested, in an attempt to push for ethnic reconciliation.
Saying that Chiang represented the Taiwanese spirit and the nationalist spirit, Huang called on the public to keep in mind the contributions Chiang made to the nation.