The Transitional Justice Commission is to investigate military detention and discipline centers established during the Martial Law era, as part of a plan to conserve the negative heritage sites and establish historical truth, a commission member said yesterday.
The commission has received a list of 45 negative heritage sites compiled by the Ministry of Culture and some sites are military compounds that the National Human Rights Museum’s investigators could not reach, the member said on condition of anonymity.
After visiting the Ministry of National Defense and establishing a communication channel with ministry officials, the commission is to thoroughly probe such military sites, the member said.
It would first target the 45 sites to which access was denied by the ministry before the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) was passed last year, the member said, adding that the commission knows that the total number of such sites is far greater than that.
The ministry’s former establishments, including the National Security Bureau, the Military Police Command’s military detention center, as well as other detention centers run by the navy and the air force, are also among the commission’s targets for investigation, the member said.
The nation’s largest negative heritage site is the former Production and Education Experiment Institute in what is now New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城), a concentration camp where political prisoners underwent re-education, which was in 1972 renamed as the Taiwan Renai Education Experiment Institute, the member added.
Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) served a prison term of six years and two months at the institute, where former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), late political activist Fu Cheng (傅正), writer Li Ao (李敖) and former legislator Lu Hsiu-yi (盧修一) were also imprisoned.
The commission should also establish the truth about the Shizilin Commercial Building (獅子林大樓) in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町), which was transformed from a Japanese temple into a detention center where political prisoners were kept during the Martial Law era, said Tsai Kuan-yu (蔡寬裕), honorary director of the Taiwan Association for the Care of the Victims of Political Persecution.
Whether to build monuments or museums to conserve the sites would be decided after the commission concludes its investigation, the member added.
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