Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Ma promises `honest' look at White Terror era

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, second right, visits a human-rights monument yesterday erected on Green Island in memory of the victims of the White Terror era.

PHOTO: HUANG MING-TANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) apologized yesterday to victims of past political persecution, pledging to ensure the legality of the intelligence and national security apparatus and to open new investigations into several prominent unsolved cases of alleged political persecution if elected president.

Ma made the pledge yesterday during a visit to the "Weeping Tablet" (垂淚碑), a monument erected on Green Island in 1999 by human- rights activist Bo Yang (柏楊) and rights groups in memory of victims of the White Terror era.

"The White Terror era reflects a serious flaw [in respect for] human rights. The KMT is choosing to face history with honesty no matter how embarrassing the past may be for us," Ma said after visiting the tablet, on which are carved the names of all the victims of the White Terror era, which lasted from 1949 until 1987, when martial law was lifted.

Ma promised to investigate unsolved mysteries of the White Terror era perpetrated by the KMT government, including cases involving Carnegie Mellon University professor Chen Wen-cheng (陳文成) and former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung's (林義雄) family.

Chen was found dead on the grounds of National Taiwan University a day after being questioned by secret police in 1981. The then-KMT government claimed Chen had committed suicide. Many, however, believe he was murdered for political reasons.

Chen's suspected murder came less than two years after the brutal murder of Lin's six-year-old twin daughters and their grandmother.

Lin and many Taiwanese believe the attack was politically motivated.

In response, DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that if Ma was sincere, the KMT should make public classified documents concerning the murders of the Lin family members as soon as possible.

No one knows what happened better than the KMT because the murders took place when it was in power, Hsieh said.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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