Efforts to solve democracy advocate’s case to continue: commission

Taipei, Transitional Justice Commission Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui pledged Tuesday to continue efforts to ascertain the truth behind the death of democracy advocate Chen Wenchen as she joined dozens of others in Taipei to commemorate the 38th anniversary of Chen's death.

Speaking at a memorial ceremony organized by National Taiwan University (NTU) students, Yang said the Cabinetaffiliated commission has established an investigation team to look into Chen's case, which has remained unsolved decades after his mysterious death.

"We are investigating whether Chen left the (nowdefunct) Taiwan Garrison Command, when did he die and how did he die," Yang said.

Chen, an associate professor at U.S.based Carnegie Mellon University, was found dead on the campus of NTU July 3, 1981 during a visit to Taiwan.

According to the Chen Wenchen Memorial Foundation, Chen was interrogated on the eve of his death by the Taiwan Garrison Command, the unit notorious for suppressing activities viewed as promoting democracy during Taiwan's decadeslong martial law period.

The authorities claimed that Chen's death could be the result of suicide or an accident, but his family suspected he had been murdered by the thenKuomintang (KMT) regime due to his support of democracy and human rights movements and his donations to prodemocracy Formosa Magazine.

Yang said that while Chen's case has undergone four judicial investigations and two probes by the Control Yuan, several key questions remain unanswered. "That is why we are hoping to make a breakthrough by combing through the government's political archives," she said.

Although political archives related to Chen are categorized by the National Security Bureau as "permanently classified" files, Yang said the bureau has agreed to grant the commission "gradual access" to the documents.

The commission has examined the first batch of files, Yang said, adding that it will also soon interview concerned individuals who have yet to be interviewed in previous investigations into Chen's death.

"We do not have the right to be sad, nor the right to back down and give up. Our only option is to press ahead," she said.

Maysing Yang head of the Chen Wenchen Memorial Foundation, said the government's political archives should belong to the people, instead of being used to protect the perpetrators.

"I hope the truth can be unearthed by the end of this year, not just about Chen's case, but also about the Lin family massacre," Maysing Yang said.

The socalled "Lin family massacre" refers to the murders of members of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Lin Yihsiung's family Feb. 28, 1980, when Lin's mother and 7yearold twin daughters were stabbed to death shortly after Lin led a prodemocracy protest against the KMT regime.

At Tuesday's memorial ceremony, several NTU students, faculty members and others placed white roses at a temporary commemorative plaque erected by NTU in 2017 at the site where Chen's body was found. The school in 2015 decided to name the site "Dr. Chen Wenchen Incident Memorial Square."

Maysing Yang said the foundation and NTU are endeavoring to raise NT$1.2 million (US$383,160) for the construction of the square, which she hopes will be complete next year and serve an educational purpose not only for NTU students, but also for young Taiwanese elsewhere.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel