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Thu, Feb 03, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Opposition activist tries to bury family pain

REMEMBRANCE The DPP chairman and his wife commemorated the birthday of their twin children who were murdered 20 years ago


DPP Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung and his wife Fang Su-min remember the birthday of their twin children yesterday. They and Lin's mother were the victims of a murder 20 years ago which remains unsolved.


With no trace of hatred or bitterness, yesterday's "birthday party" for the twin daughters of DPP Chairman and former activist Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) -- who were brutally murdered 20 years ago -- featured flowers, cards and songs, as well as large doses of love and forgiveness.

Remembering the joy they had brought during their six short years of life, friends of the Lin family yesterday celebrated the Feb. 2 birth date of the twin girls, Lin Liang-chin (林亮均) and Lin Ting-chin (林亭均).

The day of their murder, Feb. 28, 1980 appeared to be behind the choice of location for the party -- Taipei's 228 Memorial Museum, which was established in memory of events on the same day in 1947, that led to the massacre of thousands of Taiwanese at the hands of the KMT government.

On Feb. 28, 1980, when Lin was jailed and awaiting trial for his participation in the Kaohsiung Incident the year before, an unknown killer came to his house in an alley off Hsinyi Road (信義路), Taipei, and fatally stabbed Lin's then 60-year old mother and his three daughters.

His eldest daughter, Lin Huan-chin (林奐均), then nine-years old, was fortunate enough to survive. His mother and six-year-old twin daughters did not.

The murder, which remains unsolved, is often thought to have been politically motivated because of Lin's active role in the opposition movement.

In the early 1980s, when Taiwan's opposition movement was in full swing, the murder of Lin's twin daughters and his mother outraged Taiwanese people.

Lin's wife, Fang Su-min (方素敏), decided to run for the legislative elections in 1983, in the hope she could reveal what had happened to her family and to prevent any more heart-breaking incidents.

Supporters' tears, anger, and talks of revenge prevailed at her campaign rallies. Eventually, she won, a victory she attributed to those supporters who have stood by the family, offering comfort since the tragic incident.

The healing process has been slow and the Lins had felt they were not ready to come to terms with the twin girls' death for many years.

It was not until the memorial service yesterday that the couple felt ready to recall the fond memories they had of their twin daughters.

"Some of the greatest moments of my life were with my three kids," said Lin. "I loved to play and sing with them. Most of the time we did nothing special but the joy we had was more than everything."

"I have been talking to them [the twins] even after their death. And the girls have told me of nothing painful. I've felt nothing but happiness whenever talking to them," Lin said.

But, the opposition leader also spelled out his disappointment with the ills of Taiwan society and said his twin daughters were lucky to leave for heaven.

"It has been 20 years since their death but I've seen few changes in society. I think my daughters must live a happier life than those living in Taiwan," Lin said.

Huan-chin, who is living in the US, Alabama, with her American husband, is expecting her first baby in late March.

During the memorial event yesterday, a video tape was shown and words of gratitude from the only survivor of the 1980 murder thanked those who had helped her through the ordeal.

The event concluded with Lin and his wife saying thanks to the friends who had organized the service, the nannies of the twin daughters and the doctors who saved Huan-chin.

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