Intelligence reports on Taiwan's Kaohsiung Incident declassified

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The 1979 Kaohsiung Incident.

The 1979 Kaohsiung Incident. (CNA photo)

A series of intelligence reports on the Kaohsiung Incident, a government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters Dec. 10, 1979 have been declassified but not yet released for public consumption, an independent commission tasked with investigating Taiwan's authoritarian history said Friday.

In a press release, the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) said the documents reveal that Formosa Magazine, a publication that was behind the protests, was under government surveillance in 1979 and had been infiltrated by an informer even before its first issue was released in August that year.

The declassified documents also include many other intelligence reports and materials documenting the decision-making processes of agencies involved in the government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in December 1979, the TJC said.

It said the National Archives Administration began in 2002 to acquire documents relating to the Kaohsiung Incident, during the presidency of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who was a lawyer on Formosa Magazine's defense team after several of its staff members were arrested in 1979.

Since the TJC was established in 2018, it has been working with the national archives to declassify relevant documents acquired from the National Security Bureau, National Police Agency, and Investigation Bureau, according to the statement.

The documents will be a valuable addition to the historical record and a major resource for scholars seeking to analyze the Kaohsiung Incident, the TJC said, but did not give a date for the release of the declassified information. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Matthew Mazzetta)