Even if dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) made certain contributions to Taiwan, they should still be held responsible for the murders of political dissidents, Taiwan Art-in Design president Ronald Tsao (曹欽榮) said,
Tsao, whose work studio has been entrusted by the Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park with a project collecting and compiling records related to political persecution during the White Terror period, said that all verdicts concerning dissidents had to be approved by Chiang Kai-shek personally, and that there were cases in which Chiang Kai-shek changed a sentence of life in prison to the death penalty.
Tsao said that during the martial law period, Chiang Kai-shek’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo held many important positions such as director of political warfare and the information director of the Presidential Office and was in charge of commanding the secret service and handling dissident information. He added that, as president, it would be quite easy for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to find out how the two Chiangs prosecuted and murdered dissidents.
Tsao said he is therefore opposed to the Ma government’s plan to change the name of the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall back to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and asked if the government is trying to worship a dictator who murdered his own people.
The memorial park’s administration recently unveiled an updated list of White Terror victims, totaling 8,296 names, which is seven times the number disclosed in 1999 by the Bo Yang Human Rights Educational Foundation.
Tsao said the list of political victims during the White Terror came to light because of the creation of the National Archives Administration in 2004. Then president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) ordered a thorough search for files related to the 228 Incident and many documents such as written verdicts from the White Terror were also discovered, he said.
Chang Yi-jung (張旖容) only recently found out — 56 years after her grandfather, political prisoner Huang Wen-kung (黃溫恭) was executed — that he had left behind five letters to his family.
She said: “Nazi perpetrators who murdered Jews are still being put on trial today. It is quite strange that more and more victims are being discovered in Taiwan, but we haven’t seen any perpetrators yet.”
“I don’t think Chiang Kai-shek did this all by himself — who were the others? The government said that there needs to be transitional justice, but they haven’t gone after the perpetrators, so who can we forgive?” she said.