INJUSTICE: President Tsai Ing-wen owes the nation’s democracy pioneers an apology and the public an explanation over the incident, the New Taipei City candidate said
By Stacy Hsu / Staff reporter
The Transitional Justice Commission has proven itself to be a mere tool of political struggle after commission deputy chairman Chang Tien-chin （張天欽） resigned over his controversial remarks targeting Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） New Taipei City mayoral candidate Hou You-yi （侯友宜）, Hou’s campaign office said yesterday.
“The commission has degraded itself and become a certain political party’s thug, and is apparently confused about whether it represents the government or the party,” it said.
The commission’s behavior ran counter to its stated aim of reinforcing the constitutional structure of free democracy and has seriously undermined Taiwan’s democratic values, it said.
Chang resigned yesterday morning after the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine published a partial transcript of a recording of an informal commission meeting held by Chang on Aug. 24, which was also attended by commission Secretary-General Hsu Chun-ju （許君如）, two researchers and two associate researchers.
According to the transcript, Chang said it would be a pity not to manipulate public opinion against Hou, whom Chang called the “most despicable case in transitional justice.”
Hsu was also heard telling Chang at the meeting that they needed to seek support from Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session to prevent the commission’s budget from being cut.
Hou headed the Taipei Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division in its 1989 failed attempt to arrest democracy activist Deng Nan-jung （鄭南榕） at his Freedom Era Weekly magazine office at the behest of the KMT regime.
Deng locked himself in his office and set himself alight, refusing to be taken alive.
Hou’s campaign office questioned whether Hsu’s comments suggested that DPP lawmakers are planning to launch an attack on Hou under the pretext of transitional justice and whether President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文）, who doubles as DPP chairperson, is aware of such a plan.
“As Tsai will be the person who has to shoulder the largest responsibility for the DPP’s performance in the upcoming nine-in-one local elections, we wonder whether Tsai is treating the commission as a DPP affiliate and using it as a campaign tool,” the office said.
Hou told reporters that Tsai owed the nation’s democracy pioneers an apology for using the commission as a political and campaign tool, adding that she owed the public an explanation.
“All the things I have done in this life were done for my beloved nation and with a clear conscience,” Hou said.
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih （吳敦義） also defended Hou, saying that it is both unethical and illegal to blame Deng’s self-immolation on Hou.
“It is the decisionmaker at the time that should be held accountable,” Wu said.
Chang’s attempt to interfere with the election under the pretext of transitional justice has made the commission a “disgrace for democracy,” acting KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Tang Te-ming （唐德明） said.
From left, Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） legislators John Wu, Johnny Chiang and William Tseng criticize former Transitional Justice Commission deputy chairman Chang Tien-chin at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday. Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times