DPP lawmaker urges ‘white terror’ truth commission


One incumbent and one former legislator of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called yesterday for the establishment of a “white terror” truth investigative commission.

DPP Legislator Shen Fa-huei and former Legislator Duan Yi-kang made the appeal during a press conference as the 60th anniversary of the 2-28 Incident draws near.

The incident refers to an uprising against the corrupt Kuomintang administration under the late President Chiang Kai-shek that began Feb. 28, 1947 and was followed by a bloody crackdown that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

The ensuing “White Terror” — involving the suppression of political dissents and of public discussion of the massacre — was conducted under martial law declared following the incident; the martial period only ended in 1987.

During the White Terror, around 140,000 Taiwanese were imprisoned or executed for their real or perceived opposition to the Kuomintang government led by Chiang Kai-shek, according to a report by the Executive Yuan. Some prosecuted Taiwanese were labeled by the Kuomintang as “bandit spies”, meaning spies for Chinese communists, and punished as such. The “White Terror” left many native Taiwanese with a deep-seated bitterness towards the Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek, and sometimes mainlanders.

Shen and Duan said that according to statistics published by a foundation dealing with compensation for the “bandit spy” cases during the martial law years, some 8,488 applications have been filed with the foundation as of Feb. 9.

The number of those who were compensated for totaled 6,341, among whom 58 percent of are of Taiwanese origin and 43 percent are mainlanders.

Judging from the figures, Shen said the gap of Taiwanese and mainlander victims is not significant.

Those responsible for the imposition of suffering were a few led by the late Chiang, although blame was shifted to the mainlanders as a whole.

The duo spoke positively of Wu Nai-teh, a researcher of Academia Sinica, the highest research institute in Taiwan, who is promoting a private version of a “Truth & Reconciliation Commission, “ but urged the government to take the lead in forming a “white terror” commission to investigate the truth so as to uphold the “transitional justice” advocated by the DPP.