Australian academic who played part in darkest days of Taiwan history decorated

Bruce Jacobs was once accused of involvement in triple murder of dissident family

Professor Bruce Jacobs (left) with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

Professor Bruce Jacobs (left) with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Australian Asia expert Bruce Jacobs, once accused of involvement in one of the highest-profile murders in modern Taiwanese history, received a top award from the foreign minister Friday.

Jacobs, 75, first visited Taiwan as a student in 1965 and now bears the title of emeritus professor of Asian Languages and Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, the Central News Agency reported.

In 1980, he was falsely accused of involvement in the murder of the mother and seven-year-old twin daughters of dissident Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) and was detained for three months before being banned from the country for 12 years.

The murders were never solved, but were widely believed to be the work of people close to the martial law authorities. Lin later became chairman of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Jacobs was “part of Taiwan’s history,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said at Friday’s ceremony decorating the professor with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon for his contributions to democratization and human rights.

After his forced departure from the island, Jacobs turned into a prominent Taiwan and Asia expert publishing and speaking on the subject.

Jacobs said he hoped that the international community could finally realize that Taiwan and China were separate nations and should be recognized as such.