The Transitional Justice Commission voted to offer redress for the White Terror era political oppression of Wang Hsi-he (王錫和), and announced that an event would be held on May 31 to officially pardon all victims of the 228 Incident and ensuing Martial Law era.
The 228 Incident refers to a military crackdown by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime that began on Feb. 27, 1947. Thousands of people were killed in a series of protests, the majority of whom were social elites and academics.
Wang was involved in the Tseng Fu-li (曾福禮) case stemming from a raid on an alleged communist headquarters, after his colleague, Huang Ke-sheng (黃克繩), passed Wang a note telling him to run, the commission said.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
Huang’s note was meant to divert attention from himself after he informed the government that there was a “suspicious group” in a sugar factory in Yujing Township (玉井) in what was then called Tainan County, it said.
However, the Taiwan Garrison Command said that the note was a ruse to obfuscate Huang’s identity as a communist agent and as Wang received the note, it showed that he had “fallen under Huang’s influence,” the commission said, adding that it imprisoned Wang for re-education.
A “communist agent” was defined under the now-defunct Espionage Laws of the Period of the Communist Rebellion (戡亂時期檢肅匪諜條例) as “a traitor, as defined under the Punishment of Rebellion Act (懲治叛亂條例), or one who is in collusion with traitors,” the commission said.
As defined by Article 2 of the punishment act, a traitor is “one actively involved in actual acts of rebellion,” it added.
Huang’s acts violated Article 5, which prohibited joining a rebel organization, and not Article 2, so Huang should not have been considered a traitor, the commission said.
As Huang was not guilty, Wang should also be absolved of any criminal act, it said, adding that according to Huang’s testimony, there was no proof that Wang was a communist spy.
The Taiwan Garrison Command’s ruling that Huang “colluded with traitors” was an overextension of its authority, while its ruling that Wang was under Huang’s influence because they often shopped and exercised together was baseless embellishment, the commission said.
The re-education Wang underwent infringed on his dignity and freedom of thought, it added.
The commission decried the ruling as severely contravening the spirit of democratic government and the principle of a fair trial.
Meanwhile, the commission is to hold a ceremony on May 31 to symbolically pardon all victims from the 228 Incident and the Martial Law era, spokesperson Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈) said.
According to the commission’s findings, more than 13,401 people were wrongly or unfairly tried during the period.
The group last year investigated and issued pardons for 2,775 incidents.
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