Medical aid planned for White Terror victims, kin

The Transitional Justice Commission yesterday said that it is assessing a plan to provide medical services to White Terror victims or their surviving kin.

Commission Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) made the announcement during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in response to queries from Independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐).

Lim said that other countries have designated centers that help political victims or their families if they have medical conditions related to the political oppression that they experienced.

Premier Su Tseng-chang, left, accompanied by Transitional Justice Commission Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui, speaks during a question-and-answer session yesterday at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Many people have physical or mental ailments as a result of their experiences, he said, citing as an example someone who witnessed a family member being tortured to death and, although exhibiting no symptoms when they were young, threatens to pack up and run away.

“The practice of sending these people to psychiatric wards is just putting salt on their wounds,” he said.

Lim called on Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and the commission to assist these people.

Lim’s remarks made sense, Su said, adding that the government should take steps to provide special care to these brave and stalwart people, who stood up for the rights of others during the White Terror era.

The White Terror era refers to the suppression of political dissidents following the 228 Incident, when protesters were shot on Feb. 28, 1947. The then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime subsequently imposed martial law, which was only lifted on July 15, 1987.

Yang said that the commission is assembling volunteers from various disciplines who are involved in commission-backed therapy programs.

The commission also conducts therapeutic interviews, she said, adding that 29 families are enrolled in the program and 34 have completed it.

The commission is also producing short videos to better inform the public about this period, she said.

The commission has considered setting up centers to handle individual appeals for help, with centers made available across the nation so that victims would not need to travel to Taipei, she said.

These centers, if established, would be staffed by professionals from various fields of expertise, Yang said.

The commission has not yet decided whether it should set up an organization or unit to handle these cases, or to collaborate with existing units, she said, adding that the project is still under assessment.

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