Green Island Human Rights Memorial Park
Green Island, off the south east coast of Taiwan, has been a site of colonial penal institutions since the 1895. Between 1911 and 1919, the Japanese built the Burnt Island Detention Center for Vagrants. Following the end of the war, Taiwan was to be managed on behalf of the allies by the Republic of China. Instead, Chiang Kai-shek’s government assumed possession of Taiwan beginning the ROC colonial period that remains current today. On May 19th 1949, having lost control and authority in China the newly exiled Republic of China on Taiwan declared the beginning of Martial Law, effective the next day. The longest single period of Martial Law in world history, the rule stayed in effect for thirty eight years until July 15th 1987. This period is named the ‘White Terror’ in Taiwan (白色恐怖). During this time, many ‘suspected communist insurgents’, those who opposed Martial Law or who advocated for democracy, or those who were critical of the Chiang Dictatorships were interrogated, tortured, processed through show trials in military courts, sentenced, and sent to Green Island where they would be further interrogated, tortured and ‘re-educated’. There were two prisons on Green Island. The first was the Nw Life Correction Center (1951~1965) operated by the Taiwan Security Command, and the second was the Ministry of Defence Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison (1972~1987). Peak prison population was 2000 prisoners divided into 12 squadrons (those who died and were buried on the island were referred to by the prisoners as ‘The 13th Squadron). From 1951 to 1954 there were also about 100 women prisoners. Prisoners were required to do hard labour and to demonstrate their filial loyalty to the nation, some having themselves tattooed with slogans in an attempt to prove this. Those who failed often faced capital punishment. In 1953 fourteen prisoners were executed for ‘recidivist incidents’. If the administrator felt a prisoner had not sufficiently reformed at the end of their sentence they were often sent to Xiao Liuciou to do hard labour.
More information here (Mandarin only).
Green Island Human Rights Cultural Park Access
Tel: (089) 671-095 Fax: (089) 671-288
Address: Green Island Township, Taitung County General Rock 20
Traffic: motorcycle riding or driving cycle the Island highway, about 15 minutes to reach.
Green Island Human Rights Cultural Park Visitor Information
Opening hours: 08:00-17:30 (noon without a break)
Visit: groups of 10 or more can be booked navigation
Navigation time: 09:30,10:30,11:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, (11.30 & 17.00 during May to September)
Reservation Tel: (089) 671-095
Last month, three days after President Ma Ying-jeou (é¦¬è±ä¹) received 15 members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) steering committee, the Ministry of Justice executed six criminals. It is very likely that, when Ma was meeting the coalitionâs committee members, he was aware that the executions were due to take place three days later.
An increasing number of young Taiwanese are taking an interest in the life and tragic end of Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), the executive director of the foundation named after the late democracy activist said yesterday on the 24th anniversary of Deng’s death by self-immolation.
The mood at the Deng Liberty Foundation, located on the recently renamed Freedom Lane in Taipei, was one of introspection as groups of people yesterday came to pay their respects to the former editor-in-chief of Freedom Era Weekly (自由時代週刊). Facing charges of sedition for his calls on the government to protect freedom of expression, Deng set himself ablaze in his office on April 7, 1989.
Ten years later, the same office, which by then had been turned into a human rights memorial hall, was opened to the public, showcasing a collection of photographs of Deng and other activists who fought for freedom in Taiwan under martial law. Hauntingly, Deng’s office remains as it was found after he committed the ultimate sacrifice, a reminder of a not-so-distant past.
A poster advertising an event where people are invited to participate in a mock jury trial as part of efforts to move Taiwan towards a jury system. This event is being promoted in part by Soochow University’s Human Rights Program. Very proud that this poster was designed by my partner EVA. Full marks for great use of colour, font and image work and a great slogan, instantly recognisable to any young Taiwanese.