Academics and government officials joined former political prisoner Kao Chin-lang (高金郎) to commemorate five martyrs of the Taiwanese independence movement who were executed in the 1970 Taiyuan Prison Insurrection at a book launch event in Taipei yesterday.
There have been more files and government internal documents being declassified and made available to researchers and to the families of victims, Kao said, much due to the good work done by the Transitional Justice Commission, which was established by the government in May last year.
With the new material, Kao has added new chapters to his book on the Taiyuan Prison Insurrection, which was sponsored and published by the National Human Rights Museum.
Photo: Jason Pan, Taipei Times
Kao was a witness to the Taiyuan Prison Insurrection and knew the people who were executed in the aftermath of the incident as he was serving a 15-year prison sentence after being accused of taking part in a mutiny aboard a navy warship offshore of Keelung Harbor in 1963.
In May 1964, Kao said he was transferred to Taiyuan Prison in Taitung County, which at the time was used by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to incarcerate many dissidents and political prisoners.
At the start of yesterday’s event, Kao and other speakers led the audience in a minute’s silence to commemorate all of the victims of the White Terror era from 1949 to 1987.
Taiwanese must remember the sacrifices of those who had participated in that 1970 incident, when political prisoners attempted to seize weapons and battle their way out of the prison with the hope of leading an uprising against the military dictatorship and they had prepared an announcement to proclaim Taiwan an independent nation, Kao said.
Kao, academics and Taiwanese independence advocates have held commemoration services for many years for the “Five Martyrs of Taiyuan Prison Insurrection” — Cheng Chin-ho (鄭金河), Chiang Ping-hsing (江炳興), Chen Liang (陳良), Chan Tien-tseng (詹天增) and Hsieh Tung-jung (謝東榮) — who were executed on May 30, 1970, after a short military trial.
“These five men are heroes to us. They lost their lives for the cause of Taiwanese independence by fighting the corrupt KMT military dictatorship at the time. Their courage, persistent determination and indomitable spirit in facing death are models for Taiwanese to establish a new nation,” Kao said. “I have written books on what took place at Taiyuan Prison, because our society did not know that history and most of the younger generation have never heard of this event. It is not mentioned in school textbooks, as the KMT tried to erase everything and all people associated with the incident, to cover up that chapter of Taiwan’s history,” he said.
Peng Jen-yu (彭仁郁), a Transitional Justice Commission member and a researcher at Academia Sinica, had good news for Kao and the others attending the event, as she said more files and documents held by the Taiwan Garrison Command, as well as other judiciary and intelligence-gathering apparatus, had been declassified in the recent months and more would be made available soon.
“Since May last year, the commission has overturned the convictions of about 3,000 victims of the 228 Massacre and the KMT’s White Terror era atrocities, including the Taiyuan Prison Insurrection... The work is ongoing and we plan in July to overturn the convictions of more than 1,000 more political prisoners and dissidents, and many others who were rounded up and imprisoned on wrongful accusations of discussion about other political ideologies,” Peng said.
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said
IDENTITY: The time is right to press on with a referendum, as the nation has heightened visibility and support in the global community, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance said The Taiwan United Nations Alliance yesterday said that it is considering launching a petition for a referendum proposal to have the nation join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” Alliance chairman Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was joined at a news conference in Taipei by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) and leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and civic organizations. They said that it is the right time for a petition because Taiwan’s visibility on the world stage has increased, as it has been praised for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak and for helping other countries by sharing
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under