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With just a few days left until World Human Rights Day (December 10), the Ministry of Culture organized a tour for the completion of the Jingmei Human Rights Monument. More than 50 political victims attended in commemoration of the people persecuted, detained and even losing their lives during the White Terror of the martial law period. The names of more than 7,628 victims are engraved on the monument, and the Minister of Culture, Hung Meng-chi, says that the ministry will continue to research the list of victims to restore historic truth and justice.

China Times reports, the monument is the first of its kind in the greater Taipei area. It is designed by architect Chien Hsueh-yi and depicts the suffering of over half a century through its design.

Storm Media reports, representative of the victims of the White Terror, Tsai Kuan-yu, says that World Human Rights Day is next week and the UN passed the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, but the country was under the martial law for 38 years. During this time, the government arrested 16,000 people, of which 1,200 were sentenced to death. This is a violation of the declaration and the Taiwanese completely lost their human rights for such a long period of time.

Tsai says, during Taiwan’s 30-year transformation to democracy, transitional justice has not been established and there is still a lot that needs improvement. The completion of the monument also took a lot of effort.

Minister of Culture Hung Meng-chi said in his speech that the sacrifice of the political victims is why the Taiwanese can enjoy democracy and complete freedom of speech today. It is also the reason culture and art are flourishing on the island.

He says that the ministry hopes the monument will remind the next generation that the foundation of democracy is human rights, which is about respecting people, especially their lives.

Chien says that an image of ruins is created through tearing down the roof and walls of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office. Cement walls are then used to penetrate the office as a symbol of deconstruction and subversion. When people follow the walls to the plaza, it symbolizes the struggle for human rights and liberation.

The Human Rights Monument in Jing-Mei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park will be open to the public on December 10.

Translated by Wen-yee Lee and Olivia Yang
Edited by Olivia Yang