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Visiting AIT chairman given explanation of transitional justice

2017/12/11 20:08:02

CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) Visiting American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty went to the Legislative Yuan Monday, where he appeared interested in a new law Taiwan introduced last week to address the legacy of the injustices of former Kuomintang (KMT) administrations.

Moriarty called on Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), who received the guest along with ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), as well as opposition KMT lawmaker Jason Hsu (許毓仁), before they entered a closed-door meeting.

During the one-hour meeting, Su told the media afterward, they talked about international and domestic situations, including Southeast Asia and future trade events between Taiwan and the United States.

Saying they did not touch on contentious issues such as U.S. pork imports and Taiwan's national defense budget, Su mentioned that Moriarty was particularly interested in how the Transitional Justice Act, which cleared the legislative floor Dec. 5, will be implemented.

Moriarty was concerned that the new law might cause the problem of "de-sinicization," Yu said when answering questions from reporters about the meeting with the top U.S. official in charge of Taiwan policy.

The term "de-sinicization" defines a political and social movement aimed at eliminating Chinese influence.

Yu said she explained to Moriarty that the transitional justice law was enacted to change or remove traces of the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) administrations and to eliminate the vestiges of authoritarianism.

It has nothing to do with "de-sinicization," said the lawyer-turned-lawmaker.

For his part, Hsu said he told the American diplomat that the KMT agrees with the law's purpose, which is to have historic facts revealed and miscarriages of justice reversed, but will not accept the fact that the law fails to cover the victim groups of aboriginal people and comfort women.

"The transitional justice law is selective," Hsu said, expressing hope that the law will promote social harmony and dialogue rather than triggering hostile confrontation.

Moriarty arrived in Taiwan a day earlier for a week-long visit until Dec. 16. It is his third trip to the country since his appointment as AIT chairman in October 2016.

Last Tuesday, the Legislative Yuan enacted the Transitional Justice Act, which covers the period from Aug. 15, 1945, when Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan ended, to Nov. 6, 1992, when martial law on the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu ended, following the lifting of martial law on Taiwan proper in July 1987.

The Executive Yuan is required by the law to establish an ad hoc committee to implement transitional justice measures set forth under the law, including the retrieval of political archives held by the KMT that could significantly add to understanding of the era.

The law requires the committee to produce a report on the history of the period, which is expected to take two years. It also makes it possible for individuals determined to have been unlawfully convicted during the period to ask for a retrial or to have their charges quashed.

(By Justine Su and Elizabeth Hsu)