Members of the Transitional Justice Commission and the National Development Council’s National Archives Administration yesterday retrieved historical records held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on its involvement in the 228 Incident.
Under the supervision of a team of lawyers, the group of 10 reviewed documents in the KMT’s archives room on the fourth floor of the party’s headquarters in Taipei and took 28 files.
The team last week had notified the KMT about the visit and the two sides agreed on it taking place yesterday morning, the commission said.
Photo courtesy of the Transitional Justice Commission
Upon arrival, they were required to register with the building’s security and present their national identification cards, as well as sign in to enter the archives’ reading room, it said.
KMT Administration and Management Committee director Chiu Da-chan (邱大展) and KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Cheng Mei-hua (程美華) were present on behalf of the KMT.
The KMT also had its lawyers present throughout the process to “ensure the party’s rights and protect it from harm.”
Chiu told the team he was worried that some information about the party’s history had been fabricated by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, saying that some of the records it had made public differed from what the party had on file, the commission said.
The party was worried its records would be “altered again,” it cited Chiu as saying.
The KMT’s lawyers filmed as the team’s members handled documents and photographed each page they read, it added.
The KMT also required that the media be invited to “appeal to public opinion,” but it decided which outlets to invite, the commission said.
The records taken were all public records, including media reports on the Incident and related internal reports and statements the party made at the time, KMT archives deputy director Wu Min (吳敏) said.
It was “strange” that the commission wanted to take those documents, she said.
The commission said that at a meeting on May 1 it had identified 33 files related to the KMT’s mobilization of troops for a crackdown during the Incident, adding that they should be made public in the interests of transitional justice.
The 33 documents did not include any confidential information, Cheng said, adding that five were in the process of being digitally archived by National Chengchi University and would be retrieved from the university and provided to the commission.
The KMT last month refused to comply with disciplinary measures suggested by the commission and requested that it re-evaluate the documents it wanted to publicize, the commission said.
On July 24, the party appealed to the Taipei High Administrative Court to block the commission’s reclassification of the documents as national property, which was overturned, it added.
While the KMT on Aug. 1 issued a statement saying that it would temporarily halt public access to its archives from Aug. 5, it was still required to conform with requests for access by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, the Transitional Justice Commission and the National Archives Administration, the commission said.
The commission said that it on Aug. 6 notified the party that it would need access to the files, with the party on Aug. 8 saying that it was willing to hand them to the National Archives Administration, but would not pay for delivery or provide personnel to organize them.
It said that it would make the first 28 files available to the public after they are catalogued.
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