The government is racing against time to preserve oral histories of survivors of the White Terror before they pass away, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) yesterday said at the Jingmei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park, where she met several former political prisoners, academics and human right activists and asked their advice on the National Human Rights Museum currently under preparation.
The planned museum includes a culture park in Jingmei, which once served as a military detention center where political dissidents were tried from the late 1960s to the 1980s, as well as a 32 hectare memorial park on Green Island (綠島) that was used to imprison prisoners of conscience.
A preparatory office was set up in December last year, and its current task is to collect, restore and manage documents and information relating to prisoners and victims from 1949, when martial law was declared in Taiwan until 1987, when it was lifted, government officials said.
Photo: Hu Shuan-shiang, Taipei Times
Former political prisoner Liu Chia-chin (劉佳欽) said that it was urgent to form a consultative committee so that different voices and suggestions could be heard and adopted by the museum. He also urged the government to focus its limited budget and resources on people and content rather than facilities.
To reach a larger number of people, former prisoner Chen Sung (陳松) suggested the museum recruit interested college and university students to do internships and volunteer work so that younger generations could learn about the nation’s past.
On the issue of oral history preservation, human rights activist Chen Ming-cheng (陳銘城) said that there was not enough time for museum staff to conduct one-on-one interviews with survivors, most of whom are in their 70s and 80s.
“We can do a lot more if local governments team up with local cultural and historical societies, as well as victim groups, to do the job,” Chen Ming-cheng said.
Academia Sinica research fellow Wu Nai-teh (吳乃德) echoed Chen Ming-cheng’s view, adding that it takes time to build trust between the government and victims’ families.
“It is difficult for the families to trust the government that once oppressed them. Donating personal objects and documents are just the beginning. The next step is to let the families know how their donations will be preserved, displayed and used. It’s another main task of the museum,” Wu said.
The researcher also said the National Archives should make public the classified files relating to political cases during the White Terror era. The access to original files has been limited even to family members seeking to understand what happened, Wu added.
Lung promised to negotiate with the National Archives on the matter, saying she was stunned when first learning that even now “it is difficult for family members to obtain letters left by their loved ones before they died.”
At yesterday’s meeting with Lung, Chen Meng-ho (陳孟和), who was jailed at Green Island’s New Life Correction Center for 15 years, donated an oil painting depicting what the island looked like during the White Terror era to the museum and invited Lung to pay a visit to Green Island, not as “an governmental official,” but as “a cultural worker.”
During his imprisonment, Cheng Meng-ho took photographs and created a number of sketches and drawings that were later used by the now-defunct Council for Cultural Affairs to reconstruct the prison.
The heads of three major US banks on Wednesday pledged that they would withdraw from the Chinese market if Washington imposed sanctions on Beijing in response to an invasion of Taiwan. JP Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser told lawmakers at a hearing of the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services in Washington that the three banks would follow the guidance of the US government to exit China if necessary. The three bankers made the pledge after US Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer asked the three if they
HIGH STAKES: An attack on Taiwan could prompt a joint response from the US and Japan, and trigger a global conflict that could bring down the CCP, Liu Tai-ying said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not be able to launch an invasion of Taiwan for at least another 10 years, Taiwan Research Institute founder Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said on Friday. To occupy Taiwan, China needs to transport at least 300,000 to 400,000 troops across the Taiwan Strait during battle, but it would lack the ability to do so for at least another decade, said Liu, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer and a close aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The challenges that China would face during an attempted invasion of Taiwan would be even greater than those
CHINA CRITIC: Prime ministerial candidate Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner in today’s election, said that she would not renew a Belt and Road Initiative deal with Beijing Italian lawmaker Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to become the country’s next prime minister, is expected to reverse course on Italy’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country’s general election today. “Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy,” Meloni told the Central News Agency in an interview. Italians are to vote in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners
Taiwanese on average first use pornographic material at the age of 14, an international survey found on Wednesday. Researchers at National Cheng Kung University, who conducted the survey in the nation, said 50.2 percent of Taiwanese respondents said they used pornographic material two to three times per month over the past year. Lin Chung-ying (林宗瑩), an associate professor at the university’s Institute of Allied Health Sciences, said the results indicate that Taiwanese are less sexually active than people in other countries, especially in the West. Taiwanese on average masturbate 10 percent less often than respondents from other nations in the survey, Lin said. The