Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chiang Kai-shek's church at Sun Moon Lake

It's difficult to get a good photo of the Chapel of Christ at Sun Moon Lake because it's surrounded by trees atop a hillock. This detail - which surely made assassination from a distance less likely - was perhaps a plus-factor for the man who ordered the church's construction: Chiang Kai-shek, Taiwan's dictatorial ruler until his death in 1975. This Romanesque-style place of worship was finished in 1971, and is now used for mass weddings organized by Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration

When Chiang was in the area, he stayed in a two-storey guesthouse which was wrecked by 1999's 921 Earthquake, then cleared away to make space for the ostentatious Wen Wan Resort (the curving 'mast' on the hotel's exterior is coated with 15kg of gold leaf). The barracks where his security detail stayed has also disappeared; that plot is now occupied by the equally up-market LaluIn 1971, Taiwan was still far from being the prosperous society it is today. Yet its ruler saw nothing wrong with enjoying approximately 20 residences and villas in different parts of the country, and ordering or permitting official funds to be used to build a private church he'd enter just a few times each year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment