A Taiwanese man who beheaded a statue of former strongman Chiang Kai-shek, saying he planned to use the severed head as a chamber pot, was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday.
Kuo Chih-kang was convicted on theft charges for sawing off the head of a Chiang statue inside a Taipei park and driving away with the loot in his truck in April 2017, the high court said in a statement.
“I want to keep it as a memorabilia for my action on that day and take it back to be used as a chamber pot to express my anger” at Chiang, the statement quoted Kuo as saying.
“I hope Taiwan will become an independent country soon… then I would donate the head to be displayed in public.”
The court said it handed down the jail term as the defendant’s actions were not protected by free speech, dismissing Kuo’s argument that he was trying to promote “transitional justice.”
He can appeal the ruling and is out on bail until then.
Chiang is seen by many as symbolic of a brutal military regime which purged thousands of opponents until his death in 1975 and his sculptures have been repeatedly targeted.
For many youths on the island, Chiang is also synonymous with the authoritarianism that wary Taiwanese now equate with mainland China, which views the self-ruling island as part of its territory.
Last year, two people were detained for throwing egg shells filled with red paint onto Chiang’s statue at his memorial hall in Taipei, a popular tourist attraction and one of Taiwan’s best-known landmarks.
Chiang and his nationalist Kuomintang troops fled from the mainland to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Communist forces.
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