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Home The News News More than 2,000 convictions overturned

More than 2,000 convictions overturned

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Vice President Chen Chien-jen, center, other officials and special guests attend a ceremony in Taipei on Jan. 30 to mark the Transitional Justice Commission’s first overturning of White Terror era political prisoners’ convictions.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Transitional Justice Commission yesterday overturned the guilty convictions of 2,006 political victims of the White Terror and authoritarian eras, including former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊).

Former Examination Yuan president Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介) and activist Shih Ming-te (施明德) were also part of a fourth group of people to be exonerated by the commission.

Lu, Chen Chu, Yao, Huang and Shih had been on the staff of Formosa Magazine (美麗島).

The list also includes former Free China (自由中國) magazine staff members Lei Chen (雷震), Ma Chih-su (馬之驌), Fu Cheng (傅正) and Liu Tzu-ying (劉子英).

Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) had ordered that Lei should be imprisoned for no less than 10 years, the commission said.

While the two magazines were published at different periods of the post-World War II democracy movement, they adopted a similar approach: founding a magazine to discuss Taiwanese politics and promote democracy by bringing together a specific community, the commission said.

Using the magazines as a starting point, staff at the two publications worked toward forming a political group or party and putting democratic ideals into practice, it said.

They encountered political suppression, giving rise to some of the most notable cases of the authoritarian era, the commission said.

As early as the 1950s, Free China dared to criticize the government, it said.

In 1979, when Formosa Magazine was founded, a new wave of democracy advocates had emerged in Taiwan, but the government was still intolerant of social movements, it said.

Although their paths differed due to differences in their historical backgrounds, both magazines expressed the universality of the pursuit of human rights and democracy, it added.

The commission is to officially release the third and fourth lists of political victims to be exonerated at a ceremony at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel on July 7.

The ceremony, to be called Intergenerational Witness (跨世代見證), carries multiple meanings and significance, the commission said.

By displaying the lists of political victims, it seeks to remove the stigma that victims and their families have been carrying for years, it said.

The commission also hopes that the revelation of the victims’ different narratives would let family members across generations witness together the traumatic events of the past and to, once again, emphasize to the public the urgency and necessity of the collective project of transitional justice, it said.

Many of the victims who were exonerated, such as Kuo Chen-chun (郭振純), Chen Hsin-chi (陳新吉) and Chen Chin-sheng (陳欽生), serve as volunteer guides at the National Human Rights Museum, which opened in New Taipei City in May last year, it said.

Kuo, Chen Hsin-chi and Chen Chin-sheng were convicted in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s respectively, it said.

Kuo and Chen Hsin-chi dedicated themselves to passing on history to young students up until their deaths last year and earlier this month respectively, it said.

The commission said that 1,999 victims were exonerated under Article 6, Paragraph 3, Item 1 of the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) and seven were exonerated under Article 6, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the same act.

Source: Taipei Times - 2019/05/31

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Former president Chen Shui-bian waves as he arrives at the Taiwan High Court in Taipei on Aug. 26, 2011.
Photo: AFP

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