Several political victims’ support groups yesterday petitioned Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) over President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) decision to name an assembly hall in the Presidential Office Building after former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Su quoted Formosan Political Prisoners Association honorary director-general Tsai Kuan-yu (蔡寬裕) as saying in a closed-door meeting that the association wants Ma’s decision revoked because it deems Chiang to be a perpetrator in the Martial Law era, adding that he should be held accountable for serious human rights violations during the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) period of authoritarian rule.
When it was announced on March 29 that the hall would be named after Chiang, a Presidential Office official said the move was to “give people a better understanding of Chiang’s contributions to the nation.”
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Before yesterday’s meeting, the groups provided the media with copies of several official documents from the Martial Law era showing Chiang’s signature on papers and reports on the rulings of political victims that were then handed to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) for approval.
Human rights activist Chen Ming-cheng (陳銘城) cited the case of a person called Wang Te-wen (王德文), who was named as a “bandit spy” in one of the papers.
Wang was originally given a 15-year jail sentence, but Chiang Kai-shek wrote next to the ruling: “Why has this person not been executed,” and his fate was changed.
Wang did not have relatives in Taiwan, and his tomb is in Taipei’s Liuzhangli Public Cemetery (六張犁), which has been made into a memorial park.
A joint statement by the groups said that Chiang Ching-kuo played a major role in the authoritarian government’s intelligence department and after 1950 he was the head of the intelligence system.
“The National Security Bureau had, at least until the end of the 1960s when Chiang [Ching-kuo] was the minister of national defense, still been handing investigation reports related to political cases to Chiang [Kai-shek] for his approval,” it said.
The groups said that Ma should revoke the naming, and if not, president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should do it after she takes office on Friday next week.
The groups also criticized Premier Simon Chang (張善政), who on Wednesday said: “How much could transitional justice increase Taiwan’s GDP?”
The groups said that the spirit of redressing past human rights violations and facing history head-on is never profit-oriented.
“It is the democratic DNA, not GDP, that transitional justice is after,” groups said.
Additional Reporting by CNA
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
SCENIC TRAIN TOURS: TRA Director-General Du Wei said experts on aesthetics and railway culture have worked for 10 months to restore the blue locomotive Breezy Blue, the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) tourism train, is to be launched on the South Link Line on Saturday. The railway operator spent about 10 months restoring the blue diesel-powered train, which first provided service to students and commuters before being outsourced to Lion Travel, which organizes railway tour packages. TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微) told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Pingtung County’s Fangliao Township (枋寮) that the agency hopes that the restored Breezy Blue would provide an authentic experience to railway fans as well as those with fond memories of riding the blue trains to work or