The scandal over the military police’s alleged violations of civilians’ rights with an illegal detention and search of a private residence took a surprising turn when a man surnamed Hu (胡) said he has a collection of more than 1,000 White Terror-era documents, and asked the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to contact him.
“It was meaningless for the military police to search Wei’s house. There are more of these documents in my hands,” said Hu, who is a consultant for the Taiwanese Web site “Rebirth.com” (再生.com) which specializes in the sale of antiques, valuable cultural items and historical materials.
The military police detained and questioned Wei last month, then went to his home, seizing three documents, which Wei had put up for sale on the Web site.
Among Hu’s collection were documents relating to the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s conspiracy case against General Sun Li-jen (孫立人) and persecution of prominent KMT politician Lei Chen (雷震), Hu said.
Besides the files on Sun and Lei from the 1950s, Hu said he has more than 1,000 documents from the White Terror era, mostly once-classified material from the KMT’s military and intelligence apparatus, whose investigations led to the arrest, torture, imprisonment and death of dissidents, political activists and suspected communist spies during the four decades of martial law under the authoritarian rule of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Among his collection were photographs of prisoners in their final hours, with their names, taken just before their execution, which researchers said is valuable historical material and should be put in a protected depository at the National Archives or at Academia Sinica.
“People from Academia Sinica and other institutions have bought materials from me in the past. I am a law-abiding businessman and I will not make problems for the military. If MND officials contact me, I am willing to reveal in public all the material in my collection,” Hu said, adding that he was not sure why the MND and the military police took such an avid interest in tracking down the three documents offered for sale by Wei.
Hu said that he obtained all the documents legally, some from private collectors and others at auctions, paying more than NT$100,000 for some, while others were offered to him.
“We always try to authenticate the materials, as some turn out to be fakes, while some are stolen goods,” Hu said.
MND spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said the seller should get in touch with the defense ministry on his own, because it would not be appropriate for the ministry to contact Hu, as the public might suspect harassment and White Terror-era tactics against a private citizen.
“It is best to hand the materials to judicial agencies or the police for their handling, then they can be examined by experts for their authenticity. The MND would also provide assistance in this work, because we are not certain if these documents have been declassified, and to determine which agencies they had came from, and others might involved personal privacy issues for the affected individuals,” Lo said.
However, political commentator Chung Nien-huang (鍾年晃) urged Hu not to hand the documents over to the ministry or its related agencies, because they would most likely be destroyed, as the KMT and military officials have a vested interest in destroying all evidence of its killing of tens of thousands of Taiwanese during the White Terror era and the 228 Massacre.
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of
GOOD NEWS: Although open civic spaces are shrinking in Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Taiwan’s openness is a positive sign, an expert said Taiwan remains the only country in Asia with an “open” civic space for the fifth consecutive year, the Civicus Monitor said in a report released yesterday. The People Power Under Attack 2023 report named Taiwan as one of only 37 open countries or territories out of 198 globally, and the only one in Asia. Compiled by Civicus — a global alliance of civil society organizations dedicated to bolstering civil action — the ranking compiled annually since 2017 measures the state of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression around the world. Researchers assign each country or territory one of five rankings describing the
NOT JUST CHIPS: Although semiconductor processes are on the list, it also includes military technology and post-quantum cryptography to combat emerging cyberthreats The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) yesterday released a list of 22 technologies it considers crucial to the nation’s security and competitiveness, including the 14-nanometer semiconductor process and advanced chip packaging. For the first time, the council made a list of core technologies with an aim of preventing secret information about those technologies being leaked to foreign countries, which could put the nation’s security and the competitiveness of local industries at risk. For years, local semiconductor companies have faced challenges from talent poaching and theft of corporate secrets by Chinese competitors, who are seeking to rapidly advance their technology capabilities through
Japanese are more likely to view China as a major threat than Taiwanese, although both sides agree that Beijing’s power and influence are the most concerning geopolitical hazard, a Pew Research Center poll showed on Tuesday. From June 2 to Sept. 17, Pew researchers polled respondents in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong on perceived threats posed by China, the US, Russia and North Korea. China’s power and influence was considered the greatest threat above North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, or US or Russian influence, the report said. Japanese respondents showed the most concern over China, with 76 percent calling it a