Ko calls for accurate view of past at forum
Taipei city mayor not allowed to view city without an escort
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wenje ( ) spoke about history when he toured the Sihang Warehouse Memorial Hall yesterday during the final day of the Shanghai Forum, reflecting on the inevitableness of war in times of great need and briefly commenting on historical correctness.
“History should be reflected as it is,” Ko said. It was a response to how the mainland Chinese government has been known to declare that Communist China had been the one to go to war against Japan during World War II. “The Chinese front against Japanese forces in WWII was mostly led by Nationalist Chiang Kai- shek,” Ko said.
The comment stems from the mainland’s plans to hold a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. The Sihang Warehouse Memorial Hall began construction in April, in memory of the Defense of Sihang Ware- house that oversaw defenders battling waves of Japanese forces to protect retreating Chinese forces headed west during the Battle of Shanghai. The memorial hall is expecting to open to the public on Sept. 3.
The media have remarked on how Ko’s visit did not include meetings with Chinese Communist Party Secretary of Shanghai Han Zheng ( ) or Zhang Zhijun ( ), head of mainland China's Taiwan Affairs Office (
), and described the trip as being insignificant.
Ko brushed off such comments, “I am the mayor of Taipei City, and my counterpart is the Shanghai mayor.” Meeting with the Shanghai mayor meant achieving his goal in the Shanghai Forum, Ko stated. He said he will cooperate with the Shanghai government on whatever plans and meetings are laid out.
Ko viewed the west wall of the warehouse, which was littered with bullet holes made by the Japanese during their attacks. Due to concerns over being “surrounded by crowds of people,” Ko was taken around the city in a vehicle.
The Taipei City mayor stated that mainland Chinese authorities were sensitive about security, and weren’t willing to let Ko tour on his own. Ko went along with the plans, stating that while he was used to being surrounded by the media, the Chinese authorities were worried about “appearing rude.”
Deputy chief of Zhabei District’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs revealed to the media that Ko was extremely interested in the memorial hall’s “electronic sand table” exhibit that depicts the battlegrounds in the Defense of Sihang Warehouse and how the whole battle played out.
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je views a video documentary about the Defense of Sihang Warehouse, yesterday, in this photo provided by the Taipei City Government. Ko paid a visit to the Sihang Warehouse Memorial House during the second day of his Shanghai Forum trip.