Sat, Dec 22, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Justice commission off track, PFP says

WRONG FOCUS:The Transitional Justice Commission should focus on clearing people’s names and salvaging documents, not divisive issues like removing statues, the party said

By Huang Hsin-po  /  Staff reporter

People First Party Legislator Lee Hung-chun, center, is accompanied by fellow legislators Chen Yi-chieh, left, and Chou Chen Hsiu-hsia as he speaks at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The People First Party (PFP) caucus yesterday urged members of the Transitional Justice Commission to resign en masse and threatened to freeze the commission’s budget for next year until the Cabinet-level body is filled with new members.

The commission’s main tasks should be to restore historical truth and clear the names of wrongly convicted people, PFP caucus whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said.

Those were also the answers given by commission Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) in a questionnaire that the party sent to Yang after her appointment as a commission member in April, Lee said.

“However, now Yang’s priorities are to remove statues of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), change the design of the nation’s currency and abolish military honor guards [at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei],” Lee told a news conference in Taipei.

Lee said that the commission members should have held a meeting to discuss Chiang’s achievements and mistakes, and released their conclusions for public review.

“The process of removing statues of Chiang should only begin after the public accepts their conclusions. Skipping the process will make such a process like fruits grown on a poisonous tree. No matter how sweet the fruits are, they are also toxic,” he said.

Transitional justice touches on many issues, including history, laws, politics and cultural values, PFP Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said.

In light of the limited time and staff the commission has been given, and as many historical documents are decaying, the commission should make salvaging historical documents its top priority and comforting White Terror victims its second, Chen said.

Even though Cheng Hsin General Hospital, which was established by Chiang’s wife Soong Mayling (蔣宋美齡), was founded with money from questionable sources, it does not make it less of a good hospital, PFP Legislator Chou Chen Hsiu-hsia (周陳秀霞) said.

“We should not ruin the hospital in pursuit of transitional justice,” he said.

“Similarly, 99.9 percent of the shares of Hua Nan Commercial Bank came from assets that were appropriated by the government from Chen Hsin (陳炘), Taiwan’s richest man during the late Japanese colonial era,” Chou Chen said. “Is the government going to destroy the bank just to make sure that justice is served?”

Facilitating reconciliation is transitional justice’s ultimate goal and the commission should steer society toward harmony, instead of sowing conflict and division, while wasting government resources, the caucus said.

The Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) stipulates that the commission should consist of nine members, including a chairperson and a vice chairperson, with the number from any single political party capped at three.

The members should be nominated by the premier and approved by the legislature. Their tenure is not to expire until after the commission completes its initial task of compiling a detailed investigative report, a plan of action and draft legislation, which it is to do within two years, before being dissolved.

Meanwhile, a transitional justice repeal bill proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), which was scheduled to be reviewed at a plenary legislative session yesterday, has been returned to the Legislative Yuan’s Procedure Committee after the Democratic Progressive Party and New Power Party caucuses submitted objections.

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