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Chairman resigns from Taiwan transitional justice committee in hope of ending political disputes

The scandal last month has caused the departure of both chairman and vice chairman from the committee

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Huang Huang-hsiung, chairperson of the Transitional Justice Promotion Committee, resigns on Oct. 6 (Source: CNA/ File photo)

Huang Huang-hsiung, chairperson of the Transitional Justice Promotion Committee, resigns on Oct. 6 (Source: CNA/ File photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄), chairman of the Transitional Justice Promotion Committee, resigned Saturday, hoping that his departure will put an an end to the disputes over the scandal surrounding former vice chairman Chang Tien-chin (張天欽).

Huang’s resignation came just one day after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) pardoned 1,270 “White Terror” victims suffering political persecution during the martial law period. It is considered the first major result the committee has produced since its inauguration at the end of May.

The Presidential Office issued its response in the afternoon, stating that the president “understands and respects Huang’s decision.” The president also expressed appreciation of Huang’s efforts in the works of transitional justice.

Huang’s departure is the result of a scandal last month, when the then-vice chairman, during an internal meeting, called the opposition party Kuomintang’s New Taipei City mayoral candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) “the worst example of transitional justice” and suggested that it be a pity if Hou’s past controversial action is not targeted for political gains.

It led Chang and Wu Pei-jung (吳佩蓉), the whistleblower and then a researcher for the committee, to resign. The committee also started a probe afterward and made a formal apology.

In his letter of resignation, Huang said Chang’s case has caused the stigmatization of the committee, further deepened the political divide, and complicated the works of transitional justice.

Huang said he hopes his departure from the committee will put an end to the political standoff between the ruling and opposition parties and allow the works of the committee to be carried on.

Hou has been criticized for his action to attempt to arrest Taiwan independence and democracy activist Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) in 1989, when he was the leader of a police team. In defiance of the police arrest, Cheng resorted to self-immolation.

Despite being questioned for years about the righteousness of his action, Hou said earlier he did not regret what he did and would make the same call were it to happen again, as to abide by his orders.