Taiwan activists want secret files opened about dead victims of KMT repression

Democracy supporter Chen Wen-chen's body was found on NTU campus 38 years ago

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Activists marked the 38th anniversary of Chen Wen-chen's disappearance at NTU July 2 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The government should not allow the National Security Bureau (NSB) to keep files of victims of the Kuomintang’s Martial Law regime sealed forever, according to human rights activists.

One of the files concerns Chen Wen-chen (陳文成), a mathematics professor in the United States who was taken away by police during a visit to his native Taiwan in the summer of 1981. The following day, his body was found near a library on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU).

Chen’s case is one of several examples of suspected politically motivated deaths and disappearances during the Martial Law era which were never solved.

Professor Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation Chairwoman Yang Huang May-hsing (楊黃美幸) said keeping those files locked up forever was not acceptable, as the documents were assets belonging to the people and should not be used to protect criminals, the Taiwan People News reported.

She added that her foundation would pressure the government into opening up the confidential files about Chen and other victims from the era known as the White Terror.

At a commemorative event Tuesday (July 2) evening on the NTU campus, speakers noted that Chen had been a supporter of democracy and a fundraiser for pro-democracy Formosa Magazine. Today’s freedom of speech and other human rights had only been acquired through the efforts and the lives of previous generations, student leaders said.

The activists were looking to raise funds to pay for the design and construction of a Chen Wen-chen Memorial Plaza at NTU, a project already approved by the college, the Taiwan People News reported. The plan was for the plaza to be inaugurated on July 2, 2020, the 39th anniversary of Chen’s disappearance.