After six years of preparation, the National Human Rights Museum, which governs the Green Island White Terror Memorial Park and the Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park, will officially open on May 17. It will become the first museum that combines historic sites with national memories of an authoritarian regime in Asia.
Director Chen Jung-hong (陳俊宏) of the National Human Rights Museum expressed his hope for transforming the museum into a beacon for human rights and democracy. To this end, Chen noted that the first mission is to turn the museum into a resource center for human rights education, which includes offering various learning tools and teaching materials that will be integrated with the 12-year national curriculum.
Currently, the Judges Academy has held several workshops at the Green Island White Terror Memorial Park to improve civil servants' knowledge of human rights. In the future, the museum will also partner with local governments to protect sites of historic injustice and enhance public awareness of regional history.
The second goal is to build a research and archive center in collaboration with the National Archives Administration. Through collecting oral history and historical documents from political victims, the museum will restore the historical truth of the White Terror era and make public previously censored files to clarify the truth for those who were falsely accused during martial law.
The third goal is to develop the museum into a platform for cultural exchanges. The museum will build partnerships with international institutions that share similar negative history. The director of Stasi Records Agency, for example, has been invited to share Germany's experiences of transitional justice at the May 17 opening ceremony.
Political victim Chang Ze-chou (張則周) noted that the establishment of the National Human Rights Museum marks an important milestone for Taiwan's transitional justice. He then shared his personal experience of being imprisoned on Green Island and Xiaoliuqiu under false accusations when he was a university student, and expressed his hope for the Taiwanese people to learn from such history and safeguard freedom and democracy together.
Chen Chin-shen (陳欽生), a Malaysian political victim who was studying in Taiwan and jailed for twelve years during the 1970s, also expressed his hope for the museum to help research White Terror history and restore the truth.
To remind the public of the value of human rights, the government has preserved the Re-education Center established by the Taiwan Provincial Security Command as well as the Institute of Reform and Training that had detained numerous political prisoners at the Green Island White Terror Memorial Park.
The second of the museum's subordinate parks, the Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park, preserves the buildings once operated by the Taiwan Garrison Command’s Detention Center. Both sites will focus on the preservation of historic relics, awareness of negative heritage, and promotion of human rights education.
Political victim Chen Chin-shen.
Political victim Chang Ze-chou.
Director Chen Jung-hong of the National Human Rights Museum held a press conference on May 10 to outline his future vision for the museum prior to the grand opening on May 17.
Imprisonment on Green Island.
Green Island White Terror Memorial Park.
Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park.