Transitional Justice Commission Deputy Chairman Chang Tien-chin (張天欽) has resigned over his alleged plan to manipulate public opinion so that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) New Taipei City mayoral candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜) would be held accountable for his actions during the White Terror era.
Chang’s resignation came in the aftermath of a leaked audio recording of an informal meeting on Aug. 24, which was allegedly attended by Chang, commission Secretary-General Hsu Chun-ju (許君如), as well as two commission researchers and two associate researchers.
According to a partial transcript published yesterday by the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine, Chang asked the participants to brainstorm on how to enforce a lustration law that the commission had planned to draw up and, specifically, how to use it against Hou, whom Chang called the “most despicable case [of concern] in transitional justice.”
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Adopted by several nations that have undergone transitional justice, a lustration law is a mechanism to examine whether a person holding public office occupied any “suspicious positions” in the previous authoritarian regime.
“It will be a pity if we do not manipulate [public opinion] against Hou,” Chang allegedly said in the meeting, adding that the commission should find cases from other countries that are similar to Hou’s and use them to convince the public of the need to hold Hou accountable for his actions.
Hou headed the Taipei Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division in its failed attempt to arrest — at the behest of the KMT regime — democracy activist Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) at the office of his Freedom Era Weekly magazine in 1989. Deng refused to be taken alive, immolating himself after locking himself in the office.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Chang issued a statement announcing his resignation shortly after the story broke, apologizing for damage to the commission’s image and credibility.
“It is not easy for the nation to begin its transitional justice efforts, which is why many political victims and their families have high hopes for the commission,” Chang said.
“Most commission staff members have been racing against time and hoping to complete its final report within two years. Their endeavor should not be affected by the leaked recording,” he added.
The commission would never become a campaign tool, Commission Chairman Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) told a news conference yesterday afternoon, adding that he had approved Chang’s resignation.
Huang and the commission’s three full-time members bowed in apology to the public over the scandal.
“I want to reiterate that the commission is an independent body established in accordance with the law, which transcends partisan politics. None of its employees are allowed to participate in political activities, nor would we ever entangle our transitional justice efforts with elections,” Huang said.
Huang said staff members at the meeting convened by Chang were merely discussing issues among themselves, and did not represent the commission’s stance, but added that an investigation would be launched into the matter.
Apologizing to the public on behalf of the Executive Yuan,Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said the Executive Yuan found Chang’s remarks “utterly unacceptable.”
“Chang’s comments have not only undermined the commission’s credibility, but have also fueled social divisions,” Lai said.
Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said the tasks that the commission has been entrusted with do not target any individual, nor are they designed to improve a party’s competitiveness.
“The key to the smooth fulfillment of these tasks is ensuring an independent and objective stance in the process... Chang’s remarks, whether made publicly or in private, were inappropriate,” he said.
Additional reporting by CNA
SOLIDARITY WITH TAIWAN: MOFA thanked US lawmakers for introducing the bill, which aims to clarify the content of UN Resolution 2758 and questions Beijing’s claim to represent Taiwan in international organizations A bipartisan coalition of US congressmen on Monday introduced legislation that aims to counter China’s claim to represent Taiwan in international organizations. “For too long, Beijing has distorted policies and procedures at the UN and related bodies to assert its sovereignty claims over Taiwan, often to the detriment of global health and security efforts,” US Representative Gerry Connolly said in a news release. “This bipartisan legislation ensures that we stand in solidarity with this critical US partner,” he said. Connolly cosponsored the bill with the three other chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus — US representatives Albio Sires, Mario Diaz-Balart and Steve
STANDING TOGETHER: The allies highlighted the importance of cross-strait peace in Japan’s first statement with the US on Taiwan since it switched diplomatic recognition The US and Japan on Friday vowed to stand firm together against an assertive China, and to step up cooperation on climate change and next-generation technology as US President Joe Biden made his first summit a show of alliance unity. Waiting nearly three months for his first foreign guest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden told Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that his country enjoyed “our iron-clad support” on security issues and beyond. “We’re going to work together to prove that democracies can still compete and win in the 21st century,” Biden told reporters, affectionately calling the Japanese leader “Yoshi.” A joint
F-5E CRASH: The body, which was found in a reef crevice near Nanren Fishing Port in Manjhou Township, was wearing Captain Pan Ying-chun’s uniform and name tag The body of a fighter pilot who had gone missing following a mid-air collision last month was yesterday found near a fishing port in Pingtung County, the air force said. A search-and-rescue team found Captain Pan Ying-chun’s (潘穎諄) body in a reef crevice near Nanren Fishing Port (南仁漁港) in Manjhou Township (滿州), the air force said. Pan was one of two pilots involved in the accident in which two single-seat F-5E jets collided as they were changing formation during a training mission. The other pilot, Lo Shang-hua (羅尚樺), ejected from his aircraft after the collision, but he did not have any
LARGEST EVER: Police raided an illegal greenhouse in Hsinchu County and detained two men, and were looking for the operation’s suspected mastermind Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) yesterday presented the results of a raid on an illegal cannabis farm in Hsinchu County, where police seized more than 1,600 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of NT$500 million (US$17.76 million). It was the largest cannabis seizure in Taiwan, officials said. Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau Taipei Field Station, Tsai reiterated his ministry’s tough stance against illegal drugs and said it would continue to crack down on cannabis. Police on March 19 raided a greenhouse in the hills of Guanhsi Township (關西), a bureau official said. Two men,