The government should reopen the investigation into the homicide of Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), as questions about the incident four decades ago remain unresolved, the New Power Party said yesterday.
Chen, an assistant professor of mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University in the US, returned to visit family in Taiwan in 1981 and was found dead near a library at National Taiwan University (NTU) on July 3 that year.
A day earlier, the 31-year-old democracy advocate had been detained and interrogated by the Taiwan Garrison Command, a state security force that has since been disbanded. Although Chen died 41 years ago, “the complete truth of the incident” remains unknown, the party said in a statement.
Photo courtesy of the National Taiwan University Student Association
An investigation report published by the Transitional Justice Commission in May said that Chen was likely murdered by the Taiwan Garrison Command.
However, details such as the identity of the murderer were not included in the investigation due to the unavailability of key political files, the party said.
Some of these files were destroyed, while others were difficult to obtain because they are stored within different agencies, it said.
The National Security Council and Investigative Bureau should be held accountable for refusing to release the files on national security or diplomatic grounds, the party said.
“In July last year, we had agreed with the Transitional Justice Commission’s proposal to reopen the investigation of the Chen Wen-chen incident. Since Chen was believed to be murdered and the government was involved in the case, the Ministry of Justice should launch another investigation so that the truth of the incident can be fully uncovered,” the party said.
The party also proposed that the Article 11 of the Political Archives Act (政治檔案條例) be amended to prevent intelligence agencies from withholding information in such investigations on security or confidentiality grounds.
Academia Historica recently published eight volumes of historical materials related to 1979’s Kaohsiung Incident, also known as the Formosa Incident, in which pro-democracy demonstrations were violently broken up by government forces.
However, the party said that certain material in the volumes was redacted at the request of national security officials.
“The Transitional Justice Commission said that information related to the Formosa Incident should be made public,” the party said, adding that the release of all related historical documents should be made legal through an amendment to the act.
The amendment should also list reasons used to withhold information that can be vetted by a higher authority, the party said.
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