Mon, Jul 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

More White Terror probes urged

TRUTH FROM FACTS On the anniversary of the murder of a democracy activist in Taiwan, advocates pushed for the truth about his death and other KMT atrocities

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese characters for ``Seeking the Truth'' are projected on a wall while an unidentified academic inclines his head and speaks at an event at the College of Law at National Taiwan University yesterday marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Carnegie Mellon professor Chen Wen-chen.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

Human rights advocates yesterday asked the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to put more effort into uncovering the truth behind murders and other crimes that occurred during the martial-law era under the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

The appeal came on the 25th anniversary of the murder of Chen Wen-chen (陳文成). Chen's bruised and battered body was discovered on July 2, 1981 on the campus of National Taiwan University after he had been taken away by the Taiwan Garrison General Headquarters (TGGH) the day before.

Chen was an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University who was involved in the Taiwan democracy movement. He had returned to Taiwan from the US to visit his family. His murder attracted significant attention and pressure from the international community.

At a conference yesterday held to discuss achieving "transitional justice," human-rights lawyer Kenneth Chiu (邱晃泉) said that "right now the government and the media only focus on compensating victims, but have totally ignored finding out what really happened in the White Terror era."

The garrison headquarters initially claimed that Chen had committed suicide because he feared being arrested for crimes, but changed its account the following day, saying that he had died in an accident.

US forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who traveled to Taiwan to investigate the case, concluded that Chen's death was caused by his being dropped from the fifth floor while unconscious, and that his death was a homicide.

Chiu cited the names of prosecutors and judges in charge of the Kaohsiung Incident (美麗島事件) in 1979, adding "shouldn't these people take responsibility for the incident?"

He said that those responsible for White Terror incidents such as the murder of former DPP party leader Lin I-hsiung's (林義雄) family have neither been identified nor punished.

"Is the denial of justice a social value of Taiwan?" Chiu asked.

Writer Lin Shih-yu (林世煜) also asked the government not to drag its feet in declassifying documents related to Chen's murder and other incidents in order to uncover the truth and provide justice for the victims and their families.

Meanwhile, Taipei Prosecutor Chuang Chun-jen (莊俊仁), who is currently in charge of the investigation of Chen's murder, was quoted yesterday in a Central News Agency (CNA) report saying that it had been difficult to collect new evidence and find the perpetrators in the case.

"Because the materials relating to Chen's questioning at the TGGH are missing, and key TGGH officials in charge of Chen's case have emigrated to foreign countries, it is hard to make any breakthrough in the case," the CNA story quoted him as saying.

Chen's elder sister Chen Pao-yueh (陳寶月), who has sought an explanation from the government on her brother's murder for more the 25 years, filed a lawsuit in 2001 against former TGGH head Wang Ching-hsu (汪敬煦) and four other officials, in the hope of finding an explanation for his mysterious death.

Chen Pao-yueh said she was disappointed that there had been no progress in the lawsuit. She also said that her family had expected that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would help after he took office, but that they had been disappointed, and so decided to find the truth by themselves.

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