Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) on Thursday delivered a farewell letter to the sister of a political dissident who was killed 42 years ago during the White Terror period.
Chiang Yue-wei (江月偉), the elder sister of Chiang Ping-hsing (江炳興), sobbed as she was handed the letter by Lung, who was also in tears.
Chiang, a Taiwan independence advocate, was executed in May 1970 after he and fellow inmates at Taiyuan Prison in Taitung staged an uprising with the aim of starting a nationwide revolution.
“I miss father and mother dearly, and I hope to repay your love if there is an afterlife,” Chiang wrote in the letter to his parents. “My duty and mission until death is to make this world a better place.”
Although the farewell letter came four decades late, it could still offer “belated comfort to the family,” Lung said after leaving the Chiang family home in the Taichung.
She said there are still 177 such letters and documents at the National Archive Bureau which were written by victims of the White Terror era. The culture ministry is to try to help the families retrieve those letters, she said.
The damage cannot be undone, but “what I can do is bring these farewell letters to the families,” the minister said.
Lung said that she hoped that Taiwan would never again walk along the same path as it did during the brutal White Terror era, which lasted from May 19, 1949, to July 15, 1987. It was a period marked by the suppression of political dissidents and any discussion of the 228 Incident in Taiwan during the martial law period.
Lung was accompanied on her emotional visit to the family in Taichung by Wang Yi-chun (王逸群), director of the National Human Rights Museum Organization Office, as well as Tsai Kuan-yu (蔡寬裕), secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for the Care of the Victims of Political Persecution During the Martial Law Period.