Academia Sinica yesterday released newly acquired records from government intelligence agencies on victims of the 228 Incident and the White Terror, revealing the government’s close monitoring of academics and political activists, and details of secret sentences given to certain individuals.
The materials, purchased by Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History last year from private collectors, included informers or intelligence agent reports about the secret sentencing of Chang Chi-lang (張七郎), a former national assembly member who was killed by the military in the aftermath of the incident, and several other individuals who were killed after being falsely accused.
The materials also include lists of names of those suspected of being communists and details of the intelligence agency’s infiltration into political parties and educational institutions for monitoring purposes during the White Terror period.
Hsu Hsueh-chi (?V), director of the institute, said the materials were purchased on the Internet last year and that they would facilitate more in-depth research on the incident from differing perspectives.
The new materials found cover 1,000 228 Incident victims. Following a cross-check, it was found that only 68 of them appear on the 228 Memorial Foundation’s victim list, showing that many victims and their families have never applied for compensation.
The 228 Incident refers to an uprising against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government that began on Feb. 27, 1947, and was followed by a bloody crackdown, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.
Hsu said the materials confirmed that Chang was killed by the military because of a personal conflict with a local government head rather than his involvement in the 228 Incident.
The materials also showed that Chiang Wei-chuan (蔣渭川), brother of Taiwanese democracy pioneer Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), did not provoke political conflict during the White Terror era.
Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), a board member of the 228 Memorial Foundation, however, said except for the information on Chang, most of the new material was not that “fresh,” as Academia Historica also held similar material.
Chen said the 228 Incident carried a lot of political meaning and academic research alone offered limited help when promoting social reconciliation.
Chen criticized the government for acknowledging the responsibility of late dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) for the incident, while still planning to replace the name plaque of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall with that from the original Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to honor him.