The Dilemma of Democracy in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Taiwan

Chiou, Bor-Shuenn (2018) The Dilemma of Democracy in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Taiwan. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

Democracy, being people’s power, would grow with contrasts of plural viewpoints and interests. In some sense, it is in conflict with the idea of monumentality and the conservation of historic monuments in a democratic society is destined to class struggles. Only tolerance through mutual understanding could hopefully reconcile complexity and contradiction. In Taiwan the conservation of cultural heritage does progress along with the development of democracy, and has been accompanied by social antagonism. Due to uncompromising ideology, different governments favoured different heritage, even at the cost of hostility. In pre-democratic era, colonial Taiwan saw mass destruction of the establishment of imperial Ching China by the Japanese in the name of modernization. After WWII, the Nationalist government even remodelled definite heritage buildings randomly to serve political purposes. The rotation of ruling in recent decades also revealed split cultural policies. With respect to cultural heritage, buildings erected during Japanese regime were disregarded by the Nationalist government but were in turn highly concerned by the DDP authorities. Quite echoed by people, a latest event is that the memorial statues of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Japanese Hatta Yoichi (who had built an important dam in colonial Taiwan) were beheaded separately by opposed political enthusiasts. Besides, with the gradual prevalence of democracy, the removal of buildings of potential cultural significance for important public works (eg. for the Taipei Metro) often faced the protest from conservationist people. On the contrary, the official designation of potential private heritage buildings would arouse fierce dissent from owners who expected enormous profits from land speculation. Such discrepancy might reflect the dilemma of democracy. Higher wisdom is obviously needed to tranquilize this turmoil. This paper purports to illuminate these situations with concrete cases and urges ultimate reconciliation for the good of cultural heritage.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Chiou, Bor-Shuenn
Languages: English
Keywords: social antagonism; democracy; cultural heritage; development; Taiwan; politics; favouritism; cultural policies; government; conflict
Subjects: E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
G.DETERIORATION > 02. Causes of deterioration
K.LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 03. National/Regional legislations
P. GEOGRAPHIC AREAS > 04. Asia and Pacific islands
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 15:36
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2023 13:24
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