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Civic groups call on Lai to complete work on transitional justice

05/16/2024 02:57 PM
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CNA photo May 16, 2024
CNA photo May 16, 2024

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) An alliance of civic groups on Thursday called on the administration of President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) to introduce bills necessary for addressing injustices perpetrated by the government against the people during Taiwan's authoritarian era, thereby facilitating efforts to realize transitional justice.

Despite President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) soon leaving office, the Cabinet has not yet delivered several pieces of major legislation regarding pushing for transitional justice to the Legislature.

Tsai had pledged for them to be passed by the end of 2023, Huang Hui-yu (黃慧瑜) from the Taiwan Forever Association told a news conference in Taipei.

As the new president, it is Lai's duty to inform the public whether he intends to pick up where the Tsai administration left off and finalize the work to bring transitional justice in his first term, Huang said.

The pending bills include a "draft bill to push forward national transitional justice," a "draft bill on the preservation of historical sites of injustice," and a "draft bill on the identification and disposition of perpetrators," Huang said.

In addition, the Cabinet has not yet made known its decision on whether to amend or repeal the "Organization Act of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Management Office," she said, referring to calls from the public to remove the giant statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) from the memorial hall in Taipei dedicated to the dictator.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, which oversees the memorial hall's management office, should begin work to transform the hall that would not require legislation -- for example, shuttering the hall and canceling the nine daily "changing of the guards" ceremonies inside the building, she said.

Those demands were part of a joint statement signed by more than 30 civic groups calling for the new administration to step up efforts to push for transitional justice.

Legislator Ngalim Tiunn (張雅琳) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who attended the news conference, pointed to the fact that the DPP caucus is outnumbered by opposition lawmakers in the Legislature.

Popular demand will therefore be key to pass legislation promoting transitional justice, she said.

The DPP lost its legislative majority after the Jan. 13 presidential and legislative elections. The party now has 51 seats in the 113-seat Legislature, with the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) holding 52 and eight seats, respectively, and the remaining two seats held by independents.

Chen Li-fu (陳俐甫), head of the Taiwan Association of University Professors, called on the DPP to refrain from using the lack of a legislative majority as an excuse for inaction over transitional justice.

The DPP also held a legislative minority as the ruling party under former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), but it was much more vocal in its demand for transitional justice than it is now, Chen said.

Lai was one of the DPP members advocating for past government-perpetrated justices to be redressed before the party came into power, and he should work to reconnect the party with its roots, Chen Li-fu said.

(By Sean Lin)


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