Chen Shui-bian vs. the Golden Mean and the Way of Righteousness
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 5, 2007
Chen Shui-bian ordered the Ministry of Education to tear down name plaque reading "The Golden Mean, the Way of Righteousness" on the ceremonial gate to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, changing it to read "Liberty Square." His order was illegal. Chen Shui-bian and the ruling regime must bear the legal consequences of their actions.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a Level Three National Institution. Any changes to it must be approved by the Legislative Yuan. The Legislative Yuan rejected the Executive Yuan's proposed changes to the "Organic Laws for the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Administrative Office." Therefore, the name of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and its status remain unchanged. The Ministry of Education's arbitrarily issued "Regulations for the Administration of the National Taiwan Democratic Memorial Hall," which attempt to demote the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to a Level Four National Institution and to change its name, have no legal foundation. Therefore Chen Shui-bian's order to the Ministry of Education to change the name on the ceremonial gate to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is illegal.
Furthermore, after the Taipei Municipal Government certified the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as a "Provisional Historic Relic," the Council for Cultural Affairs, invoking the authority of the central government, certified the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as a "National Historical Relic." Leave aside for the moment whether local or central governments have final authority. The fact is both local and central governments certified the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as an historical relic which must be protected by law.
The Cultural Heritage Preservation Act forbids the destruction, alteration, or use of historical relics without due process. Both central and local governments have already certified the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as an historical relic. Therefore both have a responsibility to protect it. Chen Shui-bian arbitrarily ordered the Ministry of Education to alter and destroy a historical relic in defiance of the law, then his action was illegal.
Any destruction of the name plaque on the ceremonial gateway to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is illegal. The maximum penalty according to the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act is a five year prison sentence. In addition one is liable for any damage and must pay compensation. Therefore both the central and local governments have a legal responsibility to prevent any damage to historical relics. If the central government, which has a responsibility to protect historical relics, turns around and takes the lead in destroying such relics, then local governments must prosecute guilty parties according to the law. The Taipei Municipal Government petitioned the Supreme Administrative Court, asking for a preliminary injunction to prevent central authorities from changing the name. Although the court refused to grant a preliminary injunction, it clearly indicated its reasoning in its ruling: "Local authorities have the legal right to prevent any destruction of historical relics." Central authorities should memorize this section and repeat it back to themselves.
The central issue behind the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall conflict is whether it is permissible to destroy a historical relic without due process. Whether the Taipei Municipal Government's request for a preliminary injunction was procedurally defective and therefore rejected does not change the facts. The central government is not permitted to arbitrarily change the name merely because it wishes to. If Chen Shui-bian deliberately provokes an incident, if he uses the name change to create conflict in search of political advantage, then the legal burden must be borne by Chen Shui-bian himself. The Taipei Municipal Government has no alternative but to enforce the law.
When the Supreme Administrative Court rejected the Taipei Municipal Government's request for a preliminary injunction, Chen Shui-bian began shouting: "The central government won!" In fact the court rejected the request for procedural reasons, but more importantly, because the request was superfluous. In fact, in this particular jurisdictional dispute, the court strongly affirmed the jurisdiction of local authorities over central authorities. For example, the court ruled that central authorities had no higher jurisdiction over local authorities in the certification of historical relics. Central authorities and local authorities were on the same footing. Central authorities were not above local authorities, and local authorities were under no obligation to "automatically yield." To the contrary, if local authorities felt that central authorities were violating the right to local self-government, they had the right to file suit for administrative relief. The court ruled that if central authorities and local authorities both designated a building as an historical relic, the local authorities' designation was not automatically invalidated by the central authorities' designation. In fact, as noted above, the ruling clearly stated: "Local authorities have the legal right to prevent any destruction of historical relics." Therefore, Chen Shui-bian's order to the Council for Cultural Affairs to designate the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as an historical site, in order to override the authority of the Taipei Municipal Government, was a complete debacle.
Whether a peaceful resolution is possible depends on Chen Shui-bian. If Chen Shui-bian, motivated by election considerations, decides to escalate the conflict, by directly interfering the Taipei Municipal Government's enforcement of the law, then not only will he create a law enforcement problem, he will intensify social polarization. Social unrest will be inevitable. Chen Shui-bian is not merely demolishing four characters reading: "The Golden Mean, the Way of Righteousness," He is tearing apart society and destroying the nation.
2007.12.05 03:20 am
中 正紀念堂是國家三級機關，其變動須立法院同意。但是，行政院送到立法院的《中正紀念堂管理處組織條例》廢止案，立法院並不同意；因此，中正紀念堂的法定名 稱和地位迄今並未改變。亦因此，教育部擅自發布《國立台灣民主紀念館組織規程及辦事細則》，欲據以將中正紀念堂降為四級機關並改名，迄仍不具法律基礎。在 此前提下，陳水扁任意指令教育部拆換中正紀念堂大門名字，即為非法舉動。
既 然在未完成法律程序之前，任何破壞中正紀念堂大門牌匾的行為皆是違法行為，依文化資產保存法最重得處以五年以下有期徒刑，並須負損害賠償責任；則中央與地 方均有法律義務，排除並阻止任何破壞古蹟的行為。倘若有保護責任的中央政府，竟反而帶頭非法破壞古蹟，則地方政府當然必須將相關人員予以移送法辦。台北市 政府請求高等行政法院對中央政府假處分命其不得更名，雖然法院不同意假處分，但在裁定理由中已經清楚指明：「地方政府依法得動用公權力，阻止任何破壞古蹟 的行為。」中央政府應將此段文字，記誦再三。
在法定程序完成以前，不得破壞古蹟，就法言法，這是中正紀念堂事件的核心問題。台北市政府聲 請假處分或有訴訟程序方面的失誤，以致聲請被駁回；但問題的本質並不受影響，中央政府當然不能蠻橫地逕自更名。如果陳水扁刻意製造事端，藉改名行動製造衝 突，以謀選舉利益，則衝突的法律責任當由陳水扁自己承擔；台北市政府恐別無選擇，只能依法取締。
高等行政法院駁回台北市政府假處分聲請， 使陳水扁四處亂喊「中央贏了」；但事實上，法院只是因為聲請程序以及有無必要等問題而駁回，對本事件中地方政府的權限和地位，其實是給予極大的肯定。例 如，法院認為，就具體古蹟指定權限方面，中央和地方就同一標的指定，中央並沒有優先地位，地方政府也不必「當然應該退讓」；反之，倘若地方認為中央的行政 處分侵害地方自治權利，就可以提起行政訴訟救濟。法院也認為，中央與地方就古蹟的指定可以並存，地方的指定不因中央就同一標的指定即自動解除。更何況，如 前所述，判決亦已明言：地方政府依法得動用公權力，阻止任何破壞古蹟的行為。因此，陳水扁命文建會指定中正紀念堂為古蹟，企圖藉此排除台北市政府對其政治 秀的阻撓，可謂完全失敗。