Sun, Oct 07, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Transitional justice chairman resigns

‘PURSUING TRUTH’:Huang Huang-hsiung said the Sept. 12 incident that allegedly targeted KMT New Taipei City mayoral hopeful Hou You-yi added to political distrust

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Huang Huang-hsiung speaks at a news conference in Taipei on Friday. Huang yesterday announced his resignation as chairman of the Transitional Justice Commission.

Photo: CNA

Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) yesterday resigned as chairman of the Transitional Justice Commission after an uproar last month concerning an alleged plan by his former deputy to target a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayoral candidate.

Huang said in a statement that he took the reins in May with the belief that transitional justice would provide legitimacy and legality for past democratic movements, transcending party politics.

“However, the Sept. 12 incident ruined the big picture and overshadowed the commission soon after its establishment with the stigma of being another Eastern Depot,” Huang said, alluding to the pan-blue camp’s comparison of the commission to a Ming Dynasty secret police and spy agency.

On Sept. 12, Chinese-language media reported a partial recording of an unofficial commission meeting on Aug. 24 called by then-commission deputy chairman Chang Tien-chin (張天欽), in which Chang allegedly discussed a plan to target KMT New Taipei City mayoral candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜) using a lustration law.

Hou headed the Taipei Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division in its failed attempt to arrest democracy advocate Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) at the office of his Freedom Era Weekly magazine in 1989. Deng refused to be taken alive and self-immolated in the office.

The incident raised doubts about the Executive Yuan-affiliated body’s impartiality, prompting calls from the pan-blue camp for the commission to be abolished.

Five of the six people at the meeting, including Chang, have resigned.

Huang said that the incident added to political distrust, making the already challenging task of transitional justice all the more difficult.

Huang said that while he was not made aware beforehand of the content to be discussed at an unofficial commission meeting that sparked the Sept. 12 incident, the mindset and views demonstrated that day nevertheless ran counter to the dangwai (黨外, “outside the party”) spirit, which he has adhered to for more than three decades.

“I shouldered the burden [of the chairmanship] for the sake of transitional justice. My letting go is also for the goal of transitional justice,” Huang said, adding that he hopes his resignation would allow the commission to renew and ensure its pursuits of “truth, responsibility, justice and reconciliation.”

Premier William Lai (賴清德) “reluctantly” approved Huang’s resignation after urging him several times to stay, the Executive Yuan said in a statement.

“The exoneration on Friday of wrongfully convicted individuals underscores the significance of the commission’s role in realizing transitional justice,” the Executive Yuan said, adding that Lai appreciated Huang’s bravery in shouldering the strenuous task and admired his decision to take responsibility for the scandal.

Commission member and spokeswoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said that commission staff were not aware of Huang’s resignation beforehand and only learned yesterday that he had tendered oral resignations to Lai several times.

As the commission has a two-year deadline, its members and employees would continue its work despite Huang’s departure, Yang said.

According to the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例), a replacement chairperson is to be nominated by the premier and appointed with the consent of the Legislative Yuan.

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