Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - Page 1 News List

DPP seeks to fix transitional justice mistakes

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang, left, and executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee Joseph Wu listen during a forum on transitional justice organized by the party in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) use of transitional justice as a campaign tool to gain favor in the past cost it the public’s support over the issue, a senior DPP official said yesterday.

“We did use it more as a campaign tool instead of treating it as one of the most important tasks that we must achieve. In the end, supporters lost confidence in our ability to handle the issue,” said Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), executive director of the DPP’s Policy Research Committee.

Wu and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) were among a handful of DPP officials in attendance at a forum on transitional justice organized by the party.

The review of the DPP’s efforts on transitional justice, including history and education, as well as the judicial and law enforcement system, concluded that the party had only addressed the issue “sporadically and randomly” when it was in power between 2000 and 2008, Fu Jen University historian Chen Chun-kai (陳君愷) said.

While one obstacle for the party’s efforts was clear — it has never had a legislative majority — “the DPP has simply not done enough,” Chen said.

Citing the 228 Massacre as an example, Chen said that despite the recognition of the incident as a national holiday and enactment of various laws on victim compensation, “it remains a historical event, with victims and no perpetrators.”

“Transitional justice is more than the transformation of systems, it is the transformation of values. Without them, it will be impossible to fix a society in which the cancer cells of the previous authoritarian regime can still be found everywhere,” Chen said.

Li Fu-chung (李福鐘), a professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, listed four tasks for the DPP to achieve if it returns to power.

First, the DPP should collaborate on transitional justice with civil society, something it had not done when it was in power, Li said. Second, laws related to it, such as those within the draft political party act (政黨法) and regulations dealing with the White Terror period, should be a priority.

The third task would be to make it easier to carry out constitutional amendments, which Li said was the main source of political vitality in the 1990s. The high threshold for constitutional amendments had “frozen” Taiwan’s political structure since then, he said.

Li said the fourth task would be the declassification of more historical documents and files, adding that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration had tightened regulations on document declassification and disclosure since 2008.

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