Following a report by the Control Yuan, the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND) Military Intelligence Bureau agreed to declassify more than 379 items related to the 228 Incident and the White Terror era and to make them available to the public via the National Archive Administration, the Control Yuan said.
However, no timetable has been set for declassification, the Control Yuan added.
The decision came after the Control Yuan released the results of an investigation earlier this year calling on the bureau to review its position that the materials about the then-Taiwan Communist Party are to be kept confidential forever under Article 12 of the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).
The article stipulates that any national security information regarding intelligence activities, sources or access shall remain classified permanently. That exempted the information from being made available to the public within 30 years.
According to the report, the bureau holds eight volumes of documents about Hsieh Hsueh-hung (謝雪紅) and six volumes about Tsai Hsiao-chien (蔡孝乾), both leaders of the then-Taiwan Communist Party, then a branch of the Japanese Communist Party, working to overthrow Japanese colonial rule and establish a communist republic of Taiwan through a people’s revolution.
The Taiwan Communist Party was controversially labeled as a group behind the 228 Incident by people who attributed the massacre not to the authoritarian rule of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime, but to the Chinese Communist Party, to which they claimed the Taiwan Communist Party was connected.
Control Yuan members Lee Ping-nan (李炳南) and Chou Yang-shan (周陽山) looked into the case in response to a petition regarding a lack of official material about the role of Taiwan Communist Party members in the 228 Incident and White Terror era.
MND spokesman Major-General David Lo (羅紹和) said earlier this week that the ministry has already reviewed the classified archives and decided that 379 items could be transferred to the National Archive Administration, or about 90 percent of all items rgarding the Taiwan Communist Party.
Meanwhile, the report found that the Ministry of Justice, Investigation Bureau and some other subordinate agencies failed to make public materials related to political surveillance during the Martial Law period as required by law and urged the agencies to release the documents at the earliest possible.