Sun, Aug 16, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Soong promises justice committee

TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE:The People First Party candidate promised to reopen investigation into the death of democracy activist Chen Wen-chen and the murders of Lin I-hsiung’s family members

By Chen Yan-ting  /  Staff reporter

People First Party presidential candidate James Soong talks to reporters outside the Next TV offices in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

People First Party (PFP) presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) has promised to establish a transitional justice committee in the Presidential Office if he is elected, beseeching voters to “let me do it.”

In a TV interview on Friday evening, Soong said he would place more importance on the issue than former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the Democratic Progressive Party, “guaranteeing” that he would reopen investigations into the death of democracy activist Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), the murders of veteran political activist Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) family members, the murder of navy captain Yin Ching-feng (尹清楓) and the Lafayette frigate procurement scandal.

Chen Wen-chen, a supporter of Taiwan’s democracy movement and statistics professor at Carnegie Melon University, was found dead at National Taiwan University on July 2, 1981, after he was questioned by the then-Taiwan Garrison Command one day after returning to Taiwan to visit his family.

Lin’s mother and twin daughters were found stabbed to death at their home on Feb. 28, 1980, while he was detained on charges of insurrection after co-organizing a demonstration against the former authoritarian regime. The perpetrator and motive for the crime were never established.

Yin was murdered in 1983 after he wrote a report that exposed kickbacks related to the purchase of French Lafayette-class warships.

Soong made the remarks after guests on the TV political talk show discussed how intelligence organizations had interfered with politics in Chen Wen-chen’s case and the 1984 murder of writer Henry Liu (江南) in the US.

Regarding Chen Wen-chen’s case, Soong said it was “extremely shocking” and suspicious. The incident showed the importance of forbidding intelligence agencies from “meddling” and “messing around,” he said.

The guests responded by saying that intelligence agencies had been given a free hand because of Taiwan’s failure to realize transitional justice, asking Soong if he would be willing to set up a task force to deal with the matter if elected.

Soong vowed to establish a committee, which would also determine why Yin and Lin’s family had been killed.

At the time of Chen Wen-chen’s murder, Soong was serving as head of the now-defunct Government Information Office.

The Associated Press reporter Tina Chou (周清月) at the time claimed that Soong interfered with her reporting of the incident, culminating in the cancelation of her media credentials.

When discussing cooperation between the PFP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Soong said he “absolutely” has “complex emotions” for the rival pan-blue party from which the PFP split, adding that he strongly supports the KMT’s ideology as represented by the ideals of Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) and the political path forged by former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

However, he said that in the past, PFP legislators “given” to the KMT in an attempt at cooperation were labeled as his “personal army” and subjected to “blind bullying.”

Separately, KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday said that despite Soong saying he “still has feelings for the KMT,” she is distressed by all the things that Soong has done after his departure from the party.

“If you love the KMT, you should not hurt it,” Hung said.

Additional reporting by Chen Yu-hsuan, Alison Hsiao and Abraham Gerber

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