Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Commission granted access classified files

REVEALING THE PAST:If declassified, the information would help solve the mystery behind decades-old political injustices and help people understand, a source said

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Guards stand outside the National Security Bureau’s compound in Taipei in an undated photograph.

Photo: Liberty Times

The Transitional Justice Commission has been granted access to more than 2,000 permanently classified files on 20 cases that were reportedly politically motivated, including the deaths of political activist Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) family members and Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor of statistics Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), and the Kaohsiung Incident, a commission official said yesterday.

Lin’s mother and twin daughters were stabbed to death at their home in Taipei on Feb. 28, 1980. His eldest daughter survived the attack.

Chen was found dead on the campus of his alma mater, National Taiwan University, on July 3, 1981, a day after being questioned by the now-defunct Taiwan Garrison Command.

Chen, a dissident and assistant professor of mathematics, was being questioned about his US activities.

The Taiwan Garrison Command said Chen was released to return to his brother’s apartment.

Both cases remain unsolved.

Access to those files was previously denied by the National Security Bureau.

With the help of the Presidential Office and the National Security Council, the bureau has agreed to allow the commission to look through the files at its offices, said the official, who declined to be named.

Commission officials have already made multiple trips to the bureau, the official said.

The files involve more than 10 government agencies, including the Taiwan Garrison Command and the Investigation Bureau, a separate source said.

If declassified, they could help solve the mystery behind decades-old political injustices and help people understand how the surveillance system worked during the authoritarian period, the second source said.

The bureau has sent letters to other agencies to work on declassifying the files, the commission official said.

The commission is to call a meeting with the Ministry of National Defense and more than 10 other agencies to more efficiently declassify the large volume of classified files, they said.

Not only is the commission conducting research on the files, but it would also exercise its investigative powers and next month begin interviewing the people to clarify details of the cases, they said.

The commission is to work with the National Archives Administration to find more political files, they said.

In related news, the Political Archives Act (政治檔案條例) went into effect on Wednesday.

The act stipulates that political files that have been classified for more than 30 years and have no legal basis to remain so should be declassified.

With promulgation of the act, the archives agency is to ask other government bodies to complete within six months an inventory of the political files they possess, sources said.

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