Fri, Apr 04, 2003 - Page 3 News List

All Kaoshiung Incident papers to be released

DECLASSIFICATION PROJECT The chairman of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission says about 1,000 official documents must still be processed

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Research, Development and Evaluation Commission Chairman Lin Chia-cheng (林嘉誠) yesterday said that a total of 1,000 documents about the Kaohsiung Incident are still classified but he has received a direct order from President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to declassify them as soon as possible.

"In total there are 4,700 pieces of documents on the incident. So far 3,700 of them have been declassified but the president has asked us to declassify the rest of them so people can learn more details of the incident," Lin said.

To declassify a dossier, the commission has to hold meetings and work with government officials, academics as well as social workers to evaluate and discuss the best time to do so.

"This takes time but we will do it gradually until we accomplish the order," Lin said.

He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of an exhibition of declassified documents from the incident at the Kaohsiung Museum of History yesterday.

The exhibition is sponsored by the National Archives and displays the declassified dossiers as well as newspaper clippings of the protest and subsequent crackdown. It was on display at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei from Feb. 28 to March 12. The exhibition will be on display in Kaohsiung through April 13.

Lin asked Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to attend yesterday's ceremony because they were all defense attorneys for people indicted over the incident.

"It was a historical tragedy," Chang said. "If you read the defendants' confessions carefully, you will find that all their confessions were quite similar since they were tortured and forced to endorse confessions that had actually been written by the authorities."

Chang said that it is necessary to reveal the truth and let children know what really happened back in that era.

"We have to face it and learn tolerance. In the meantime, we should show our respect to those victims because they fought for freedom," he said.

Su said that he is expecting the government to declassify the rest of the dossiers.

"The story is not yet complete," he said. "But I am glad that our government is working on restoring the truth of the story."

"Many people sacrificed themselves for Taiwan's democracy. By reviewing these displays, I think we are all blessed here," he said.

The Kaohsiung Incident started with a pro-democracy rally on Dec. 10, 1979. Three days later police officers, military police as well as secret agents began to arrest people who had taken part in the rally.

Eight people -- who became known as the "Kaohsiung eight" -- were courtmartialed and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, including Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former DPP chairmen Shih Ming-teh (施明德) and Lin I-hsiung (林義雄).

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