Transitional justice law milestone for Taiwan's democracy: president

12/06/2017 05:44 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) described Wednesday the passing of transitional justice legislation a day earlier as an important milestone for Taiwan's democracy.

Speaking before a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) central standing committee meeting, Tsai, who also serves as DPP chairwoman, thanked her party members for the effort and determination they have put in over the past year to make the transitional justice legislation a reality.

According to Tsai, the legislation, which will establish a transitional justice system that will review and address the legacy of injustices left by former Kuomintang (KMT) administrations, will allow the country to turn over a new leaf, shedding the painful memories that have resulted in hatred amongst different groups of people in the nation.

The law will focus on 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.

Tsai quoted what she said during this year's commemoration of the 228 Incident, saying that the goal of transitional justice is reconciliation, allowing the public to face the past together and move on to a better future.

In response, Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), chairman of the opposition KMT, said that his party will not oppose the establishment of a transitional justice system, as long as it is carried out properly.

To this end, the KMT has previously proposed a version of the legislation that includes a broader scope of history, applying transitional justice measures to the period of Japanese colonial rule to demand that the Japanese government take responsibility for infringing upon the rights of aborigines, comfort women, and Taiwanese drafted into the Japanese Army during World War II.

However, the DPP opposes this wider scope, and with their majority in the Legislature, passed its version, which only focuses on the period of authoritarian rule under the former KMT regime.

Wu also objected to the method of appointment of members to the transitional justice committee, which is up to the sole discretion of the DPP.

He said that this could be a violation of the Republic of China Constitution and that he will petition for a Supreme Court review of the legislation to see if it does in fact violate the Constitution.

(By Fan Cheng-hsiang, Hsieh Chia-chen and Kuan-lin Liu)


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