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National Taiwan University starts work on memorial for murdered activist

Chen Wen-chen's body was found on NTU campus in 1981 after questioning by Martial Law authorities

Work on memorial for murdered activist Chen Wen-chen begins on NTU campus. 

Work on memorial for murdered activist Chen Wen-chen begins on NTU campus.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Work started on the Dr. Chen Wen-chen Incident Memorial Square (陳文成事件紀念廣場) on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU) Thursday (July 16) following a long campaign to honor the professor, who was murdered during the White Terror era.

Chen, a mathematics professor active in the Taiwanese democracy movement and living in the U.S., returned to the island in 1981 to visit his family. The day after being questioned by the Taiwan Garrison Command, he was found dead outside a library on the NTU campus.

The incident remains one of many unsolved deaths and disappearances to take place during the White Terror era from the 1940s until the 1980s. The Kuomintang regime relentlessly pursued opponents ranging from alleged communists to supporters of democracy and Taiwan independence.

The move to commemorate Chen’s passing on the campus started in 2007 at a seminar organized by students, CNA reported. While NTU agreed to name a plaza after its alumnus, the necessary funds, totaling NT$12 million (US$407,000), have been difficult to raise.

Speakers at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony emphasized the importance of finding out the full truth about the “incident,” a word typically used to describe murders from the Martial Law period. Only if the truth is known can freedom, democracy, and human rights be protected, student leaders said.