Taipei, 1 August 1998
On 1 August 1998, Mr. Lin Yi-hsiung was sworn in as chairman of the
leading opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Mr. Lin, age 56, said during the swearing-in ceremony: "It is
the DPP's goal that people in Taiwan can create their own country
and enjoy equality and dignity like people in other nations."
He added: "Although people in Taiwan have different opinions
about what Taiwan's future holds, they have a clear consensus that
Taiwan's future should be decided by Taiwanese people themselves."
Before Lin's inauguration ceremony, some 20 members of a Movement
for Nation-Building rallied outside the DPP headquarters to protest
the policies of outgoing chairman Hsu Hsin-liang, who had advocated
a controversial "westward" policy of exchanges and
engagement with Beijing.
The protestors held Mr. Hsu indirectly responsible for the recent
kidnap and murder of
Kaohsiung city councillor Lin Tin-chuan in China,
which has fueled anti-China sentiment in Taiwan. One of the
protestors slapped Hsu in the face as he walked to the venue for
Lin's swearing-in ceremony.
The new DPP chairman and other seven pro-independence activists
were jailed in December 1979, when Formosa magazine, with which they
were associated, organized Taiwan's first-ever Human Rights Day
celebration in the Souther port-city of Kaohsiung. The event,
referred to as the Kaohsiung
Incident, became a turning-point in Taiwan's history,
because it galvanized the native Taiwanese (85 percent of the
population) into political action.
His life took a tragic turn in the aftermath of the Kaohsiung
Incident: and on 28 February 1980 - while he was in prison - his
mother and twin-daughters were murdered in their home in downtown
Taipei, while the house was under surveillance by the secret police.
A third daughter was injured severely from knife stabbings, but
survived. The Kuomintang authorities never solved the murder
although there were strong indications of involvement by the secret
Mr. Lin was released in 1984; most of the others not until
The pro-independence DPP was founded
on 28 September 1986 in spite of the ban on opposition
parties. In the following year, mid-1987, the Kuomintang lifted
Martial Law and the ban on opposition parties.
In local polls last November, the DPP won a major
election victory, and inflicted the worst defeat in
half a century on the KMT, winning 12 of the 23 administrative posts
at stake to double their previous share.
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