The Transitional Justice Commission this month is to hold a series of seminars and exhibitions to promote transitional justice and the commission’s work.
An exhibition titled Dialogues With the Past, Present and Future (彼時影‧未來光) is to start on Friday and run through July 26, and the commission would also host activities and programs in collaboration with the Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute in Taipei, commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said in an interview with Super FM98.5 radio on Friday.
Among the featured speakers is former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), who is to talk about his political awakening during his youth when Taiwan was under one-party state rule, Yang said.
Yang said the exhibition and activities would address the remains of the past authoritarian era, and historic sites of injustice, prisons and detention facilities, torture and execution grounds, military courts, and other such sites during the White Terror era.
In the radio interview, National Taiwan University (NTU) Students’ Association president Tu Chun-ching (涂峻清) said that the death of Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), a Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor who was killed during a visit to Taiwan, was an example of the authoritarian atrocities that occurred on school campuses in that era.
Tu said it was “a mirror for reflection, for people to learn the lessons of transitional justice.”
Chen, an NTU graduate, was found dead outside the library on NTU’s campus in Taipei on the morning of July 3, 1981, after three Taiwan Garrison Command agents had taken him in for questioning the day before.
The then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government said that Chen had committed suicide out of fear of being convicted for his involvement in pro-democracy movements, while his family and friends said the government had killed him.
Yang said Chen’s death revealed that the government had closely monitored him, and documents show that the government in 1983 had filled university campuses with more than 5,000 intelligence officers and informants.
“Universities should be for free and open expression, but in those years, students were under close watch by the authorities, therefore it is necessary to discuss it with university students,” she said.
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