Thu, Mar 19, 2009 - Page 1 News List

White Terror documents cause uproar

ABANDONED Documents were found scattered at a building once used by the notorious Taiwan Garrison Command to question dissidents and criminal suspects

By Rich Chang AND Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Police and Investigation Bureau personnel block reporters from entering a Taipei County building where White Terror-era documents were found by Apple Daily reporters, as Democratic Progressive Party legislators conduct an inspection tour at the site yesterday.

PHOTO: LIN CHING-CHUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

Former victims of political persecution and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday slammed the government for neglecting evidence relating to the White Terror period after interrogation records were found at an abandoned Ministry of Justice building.

Yesterday’s Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the documents, along with body parts in jars, had been left scattered at the Investigation Bureau’s abandoned Ankeng Guesthouse in Taipei County.

The guesthouse, once used as an office by the notorious Taiwan Garrison Command, was used to question dissidents and criminal suspects during the Martial Law era.

The Taiwan Garrison Command was a military state security agency during the Martial Law era from 1949 to 1992.

The newspaper printed photos taken inside the building of human body parts in glass jars. Both the newspaper and the government said the body parts belonged to homicide victims and were unrelated to politics.

The newspaper’s reporters were able to enter the derelict office and take photos of the documents and human remains.

Among the documents found inside were records of the interrogations of late DPP chairman Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介); the late writer, human rights activist and one-time political prisoner Bo Yang (柏楊); and former national policy adviser Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏), who was also once a political prisoner.

The DPP slammed the government for failing to preserve and disclose the documents.

“How can important documents that hold vital information about the White Terror era be discarded this way? We think someone should take responsibility for this,” DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) told a press conference.

At a separate setting, DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said the National Archives Administration under the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission had asked the bureau to collect and clear all archives of documents from the White Terror era, but the bureau had clearly not complied.

“The Investigation Bureau violated the National Archives Act (國家檔案法) and its officials should be investigated,” Cheng said.

Hsieh said: “They [Taiwan Garrison Command officials] told me they conducted human experiments on a mountain in Jingmei [景美], but few people knew where it was. Most people were taken to the place blindfolded and few of them came back.”

He said both former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had failed to conduct a proper investigation into the fates of political prisoners during the White Terror era.

Asked by the Taipei Times why the documents had not been dealt with under the two-term Chen administration, Cheng said the government had not been aware of them. Had it known, it would have requested action, he said.

Lin Shih-yu (林世煜), an academic specializing in the White Terror era, called for the Investigation Bureau to give the National Archives Administration all documents on political prisoners that the Ministry of National Defense’s Secrets Bureau gave to it in 1955 — the year the secrets bureau was disbanded.

Documents belonging to the Taiwan Garrison Command’s Security Department should also be handed over to the archives administration immediately, he said.

Lin said that a defunct unit of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) known as the special agent department had documents on dissidents, the location of which is now unknown. The Ministry of Education’s military education department also has a number of documents on dissidents.

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