Taiwan gives amnesty to 1,270 victims of past political repression

Transitional Justice Commission cancels criminal records of victims from Martial Law era

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President Tsai Ing-wen (rear, right) looks on as past unfair court verdicts are shredded.

President Tsai Ing-wen (rear, right) looks on as past unfair court verdicts are shredded. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Transitional Justice Commission (促轉會) on Friday expunged the criminal records of 1,270 former political prisoners and dissidents.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) apologized to the victims of repression, in the name of the government, saying they have had to wait too long.

The commission was set up last May to rectify the wrongs from the period of Martial Law, including the executions and jailing of thousands of opponents of President Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang regime.

In a symbolic move, the commission announced its decision at a Sheraton hotel in Taipei which stands on the site of a former Martial Law era police building, the Central News Agency reported. President Tsai, top government leaders, and more than 200 former prisoners or their relatives were present at the event.

“Before democratization, there was a long dark period with many people not knowing the reason why they received abnormal sentences, and people losing their life,” Tsai told them.

In the past, governments already paid compensation to some of the victims and presented them with certificates restoring their reputation, yet it was only now, through the actions of the Transitional Justice Commission, that the day had come they had all been waiting for, the President said.

Friday’s ceremony included a shredding of unjust court verdicts to symbolize the destruction of the unfair criminal records.