Government urged to promote education of White Terror history
Taipei, March 18 (CNA) Tiana Lee (李欣怡), a descendant of a political prisoner during Taiwan's White Terror period, on Saturday called for more action by the government to preserve and pass on the stories of those who were politically persecuted under the period of authoritarian rule in the Republic of China (Taiwan).
"Pass their stories to future generations then their sacrifices will be worthwhile," Lee, a musician based in Kaohsiung, said at an event hosted by the National Human Rights Museum (NHRM).
The event was intended to pay tribute to people who were politically prosecuted, imprisoned and even executed by the Kuomintang (KMT) government from 1949-1992, a period known as the White Terror era.
She stressed that the stories of those political prisoners should be preserved by the government and included in the school curriculum as part of human rights education.
According to NHRM's database, Lee's grandfather Lee Shun-fa (李順法), a 40-year-old businessman, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1953, after being accused of financing people labelled by the authorities as communist spies.
He was executed a year later on the order of former President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), the database showed.
Lee Shun-fa had his sentence revoked by the Executive Yuan in 2018.
According to Lee, her grandfather was not the only one in the family to face political persecution, and for decades her parents refrained from mentioning those terrible events out of safety concerns.
Lee said only after she learned how her grandfather died did she begin sifting through political archives and visiting historical sites to try to learn more about her grandfather.
Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Shih Che (史哲) said the ministry is committed to preserving the history of the White Terror period through texts, images and other forms.
Since its preparatory office was established in 2011, the NHRM has interviewed more than 500 former political prisoners from the White Terror period and their family members to document their experiences, according to the museum.
This painful period of history in Taiwan, according to Shih, should not be shrugged off as "an event in the past" and be remembered only by a small group of people or by certain political parties.
It is the responsibility of all the people in Taiwan to remember, pay tribute and reflect upon what happened during the White Terror period so that the history will not repeat itself, he added.
Saturday's event, held annually in spring at Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park in New Taipei, was also attended by Control Yuan President Chen Chu (陳菊) and dozens of former political prisoners from the White Terror era, as well as their family members and descendants.
The park was once the Taiwan Garrison Command Martial Law Bureau, where Chen, who currently also chairs the National Human Rights Commission, and former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) were detained after pro-democracy protests in 1979.
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