NTU to update activist's memorial – 台北時報
A plaque at Chen Wen-chen (陳文成) Memorial Square is to include a phrase indicating that Chen was likely murdered, the National Taiwan University (NTU) school affairs council said yesterday.
Chen, an assistant professor of mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, died while visiting Taiwan. His body was found on the morning of July 3, 1981, outside the library on the NTU campus in Taipei.
A day earlier, the 31-year-old had been detained and interrogated by the now-defunct Taiwan Garrison Command, a secret police body which sought to question him about his financial contributions to the pro-democracy Formosa Magazine.
Photo provided by the National Taiwan University Student Association
Some people suspect that Chen was tortured to death by the authorities and his body later dumped on the campus. The agency denied the allegations.
The Taiwan Garrison Command said at the time that Chen could have committed suicide or accidentally fallen off a balcony at the university.
NTU students and faculty have long been at odds after the square was completed in February without any text to introduce or indicate who the square was commemorating.
Student council representatives had previously requested text that read: “To commemorate a brave individual who resolutely defied state violence,” which they said would enhance the square’s function to teach about democracy and human rights.
The decision had been unanimously passed and the words added to a wall near the square last month.
The school affairs council yesterday said that in addition to the text on the wall, the university would add a plaque bearing an introduction of the square to visitors.
Student council president Chang Cheng-yu (張承宇) said that after extensive discussions with university authorities, a description on the introductory plaque that retold the incident would include at the end the words: “According to a 2020 report by the Transitional Justice Committee, there is a high possibility that Chen was murdered.”
The plaque adds that the student council and graduate student association had started holding a commemorative event for Chen in 2011, and in 2012 petitioned the university to create the square to commemorate Chen.
The university approved the establishment of the square in 2015, and its construction was funded by the Dr Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation and Museum, the university’s mathematics department, the student council and the graduate student association, it said.
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