Sun, Jul 28, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Commission vows follow-up on secret White Terror files

By Huang Hsin-po and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Transitional Justice Commission Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui, left ,speaks on the opening day of the International Symposium on the Truth and Transitional Justice of the 228 Incident in Taiwan organized by the 228 Memorial Foundation at the National 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Transitional Justice Commission has gained access to the National Security Bureau’s secret files on 21 cases from the White Terror era, including files on independence advocates Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) and Chen Wen-chen (陳文成).

Commission Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said at an international conference on transitional justice in Taipei yesterday that the commission has reviewed the files and would commence interviews with people linked to the incidents.

More than 2,000 documents have been reviewed and new historical facts are being uncovered, she said.

On Feb. 28, 1980, Lin was being tried for treason at a military tribunal, when his mother and two seven-year-old twin daughters were stabbed to death at their home.

Chen’s body was found on the campus of National Taiwan University on July 3, 1981, a day after the now-defunct Taiwan Garrison Command claimed to have released him from custody.

No further details would be disclosed for now to avoid compromising the investigations, she said.

Asked about the pace of the commission’s work, Yang said it is following up on multiple leads, but that officials must proceed carefully so that the commission’s findings would be reliable and able to survive legal challenges.

The commission is holding discussions with academics and experts as it prepares long-term plans that it intends to present to the government in May next year, as it does not expect to complete its mission in the allotted two years, she said.

South Korea in 1996 passed a law to investigate government atrocities in the 1980 Gwangju Uprising and its Ministry of National Defense has only recently organized an investigative body, she said, before calling on the public to be patient about transitional justice.

228 Memorial Foundation chairman Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元) said that the foundation is drafting a report on Taiwan’s transitional justice project and would submit it for the commission’s consideration later this year.

An English-language translation of the report is expected to be published some time next year, Hsueh added.

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