Julian Lin, widow of Taiwan Civil Government founder Roger Lin, has been found guilty by a Taoyuan District Court of fraud and violation of the Organized Crime Prevention Act and Money Laundering Control Act. Lin was sentenced following a three year non-jury trial with numerous adjournments to a term of nineteen years in prison. Lin was also fined $68,000 USD.
Roger Lin died from a fall in his home during the terminal stage of prostate cancer in October 2019, forcing Republic of China in-exile prosecutors to drop charges against him and concentrate their case against Julian. The Lins and others were charged with duping members of TCG with false claims about membership benefits and vanity license plates. Over three hundred members were defrauded out of $3.3 million USD according to prosecutors.
At the heart of the alleged deceptions was the claim that TCG was authorized by the United States Military Government and enjoyed the secret support of the American government. Several millions of dollars were pumped into Washington for think tank receptions, political luncheons, and media events through lobbyist Neil Hare, a registered foreign agent.
Seven decades of strategic ambiguity have so clouded Taiwan’s sovereignty that the exiled Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek still governs the former Japanese territory. The United States does not recognize the Republic of China in-exile’s sovereignty over Taiwan, yet sells weapons to the ROC. Continued public hero worship of dictator Chiang offends the People’s Republic of China, which expresses territoral claims for the island. Thus the unresolved international status of Taiwan created a fertile field for TCG goals of United States intervention to expel the ROC and permit self-determination for Taiwan.
Roger Lin had already founded TCG before Julian joined and became an activist member. Their mutual attraction turned to marriage and a partnership in political advocacy. Julian came to the attention of the ROC when she and Roger sued the ROC and the USA in federal court in Washington, Roger & Julian Lin vs. ROC and USA, seeking to overturn the 1947 ROC Nationality Act which deprived residents of their Japanese nationality. Although sympathetic, the court decided that any deadline was long past.
Although TCG raised a lot of money, millions of dollars, they also spent a lot on overseas trips, public relations campaigns, advertising, and media events. However, ROC prosecutors claim the Lins and four others skimmed money from the donations. Neil Hare finally dumped TCG when the group defaulted on a million dollar contract with his Global Vision Communications company. Hare may also have been afraid of the ROC prosecutors, who spoke of an unindicted co-conspirator and asked Julian Lin many questions about him and GVC at her preliminary hearing.
Julian Lin was convicted of multiple counts of the fraudlulent taking of property and money laundering. The court ordered a large sum of money, found in Julian’s possession, confiscated along with other cash claimed to be proceeds from fraud. Julian denies it was donated and claims it was family money, inheritance, and life savings kept at home in cash. The two caches were $258,400 USD and $192,678 USD.
Co-defendant,You Xiangjing, the TCG landlord, received two years imprisonment and a $34,000 USD fine for fradulent taking of property. You was likely surprised at his sentence as he had allowed the demolition of his building, the TCG headquarters, for a zoning violation, in a bid for freedom.
Co-defendant Yeh Bi-lian, a bookkeeper, received a sentence of two and a half years imprisonment and fine.
In a stunning reversal, Information Review Tribunal Judge Alison McKenna overturned the Information Commissioner and found that the London School of Economics violated the Freedom of Information Act. Judge McKenna found the Information Commissioner ignored a submission from Taiwanese newsman Dennis Peng and issued an erroneous decision in the case involving Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen.
President Tsai has been embroiled in an academic fraud controversy over her 1984 PhD degree issued by the University of London on behalf of the London School of Economics. Tsai triggered an academic firestorm in June 2019, when she submitted her 1983 thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions to the LSE Library, thirty-five years late. The tardy thesis, in draft format, contained pagination problems, footnote issues, and handwritten notations, including a question mark.
President Tsai has refused to release the viva report of her oral examination, while both the LSE and the UL refuse to even name Tsai’s thesis examiners. At one point, the UL tried to blame librarians at the Senate House Library for losing the UL’s copy of the thesis during restructuring, but backed away after a Tribunal judge found there was no record of the thesis submission.
In a Freedom of Information request, the LSE was asked for the names of President Tsai’s examiners, however, the school claimed that it lacked the identities of the thesis examiners. At the same time, Kevin Haynes, the “Head of Legal Team” at LSE, volunteered to the ROC Ministry of Justice the names of purported examiners. The Ministry was investigating a charge of criminal defamation that Tsai lodged against newsman Dennis Peng for his coverage of the controversy. Peng has a daily YouTube broadcast entitled “True Voice of Taiwan” that has riled Tsai. Haynes’ subordinate, Rachael Maguire, has since suggested that Haynes gave incorrect information to Tsai’s prosecutors because of a “hurried view” of Tsai’s student record.
While the LSE was busy denying information requests about President Tsai, the ROC prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Peng, who is presently in the United States. Because Tsai’s exiled Chinese government has no extradition treaty with the United States, Peng is able to avoid imprisonment and continues to hammer away at the PhD thesis controversy.
Judge McKenna tells the rest of the story in her decision, after finding the LSE did not pass the “gateway” of compliance with the law.
“LSE declined to be joined as a party to this appeal but made submissions and provided evidence. Its submission to the Tribunal dated 14 March 2022 it stated that “…the information we hold on file is only there accidentally…we cannot be certain that this information is accurate”.
“LSE confirmed to the Tribunal that it holds President Tsai’s student file, comprising 278 pages. It stated that there is a letter on this file in which a person appears to self-identify as one of the Viva examiners, but that it has no official notification from University of London whether this information was correct, and it holds no information on the identity of the co-examiner.”
“The 16 December 2020 email [Kevin Haynes to ROC] was provided by the Appellant to the Information Commissioner’s Office during its investigation, but it did not ask LSE about it, apparently being uncertain of its provenance. The Appellant provided the Tribunal with a further copy of the email, exhibited to an affidavit dated 24 January 2022 signed by journalist Dennis Peng, who states he obtained it via disclosure during defamation proceedings brought against him by President Tsai and that the addressee of the email is “the inquiry of the Taiwanese Judiciary Institution” which is investigating President Tsai’s PhD.”
“The Appellant produced an email dated 14 June 2019 from a member of staff at LSE to President Tsai’s office in which there is a reference to “fending off” enquiries about President Tsai’s PhD. The Appellant relies on this as evidence that LSE is reluctant to comply with its duties under FOIA.”
“The Tribunal considered the following evidence, provided by LSE with its submissions of 14 March 2022: An internal email dated 31 March 2021, addressed to the member of staff who sent the 16 December 2020 email, as follows: Looking at it again, I was wondering where in the student file you got the information that she had two internal examiners – [XX] and [YY] – and one external examiner – [ZZ]. As far as I can see the only examiners referred to in the file are: -[ZZ], named as external examiner in a letter from Pres Tsai to …Sec of Graduate School at LSE, 5 December 1983 -[XX], who refers to ‘my co-examiner and myself’ in a memo …dated 16/1/1983. This also suggests there were only two examiners, [XX] and one other. I see [YY] is mentioned in the file but couldn’t find him specifically named as an examiner.”
“We conclude on the basis of all the evidence before us and on the balance of probabilities that information within the scope of the request is held by LSE in President Tsai’s student file. That information has been referred to in email correspondence between LSE and others (including apparently being supplied to a judicial inquiry) and is also referred to in its submission to the Tribunal. We understand that LSE doubts the accuracy of this information, but we conclude that this is not a basis for stating that information is not held under FOIA.”
“It may be that exemptions will be claimed, but we conclude that LSE must now issue a fresh response in which that issue is addressed. As we have concluded that information is held, the correct course is for LSE to issue a fresh response on the basis that information within the scope of the request is held, and at that stage either disclose the requested information (with contextual commentary, if necessary) or claim any exemptions to disclosure that it considers apply.”
“We allow this appeal on the basis of the Appellant’s first ground of appeal, that the Decision Notice was erroneous in its conclusion that information was not held.”
Judge McKeena ordered the London School of Economics to respond within 28 days.
The never-ending story of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s 1983 PhD thesis has taken a new twist deepening the mystery around her thesis. First, the University of London [UL], which awarded President Tsai a PhD degree in 1984, was embarassed to admit it did not have a copy of the thesis on its library shelves, nor a copy on micro-film as required by university regulation. Now, the UL is forced to admit it is missing critical pages from its 1983 PhD regulations.
Emily Brick, the UL’s Information Goverance Officer, offers the current regulations but says missing pages of the 1983 regulations cannot be found. “I am writing to release the additional information requested – the missing pages in the 1983-1984 Regulations for Internal Students and the General Regulations 1983-1984.”
“I have asked colleagues and we could not find any material on the nomination of examiners for the time and composition of examination boards, although we do have these guidelines now which are published on our website.”
“I apologise for the time taken and the lack of information that pertains to your request.”
The University of London has kept quiet about the thesis controversy that began in June 2019 when President Tsai provided the London School of Economics Library with a copy of the thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions, thirty-five years late.
A Freedom of Information request spoiled the UL’s cover story to the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] blaming librarians for the missing thesis. “The original copy held by the University library was lost or mis-shelved sometime between mid‐1980s and 2010s over which period there were numerous structural changes to the library.”
The UL told the ICO the structural changes story despite earlier knowledge that the thesis was never received by the school library. In 2015, a.search was made for the thesis because of Tsai’s presidential campaign and a librarian went into storage and discovered a notation in the old card catalog that the computer did not have. A librarian wrote to an administrator, “However, we do have an old card catalogue covering theses from the 1980s and there is a card for this one which indicates we were due to receive the thesis, but it never arrived.”
The ICO accepted the false speculation as a factual assertion and did not investigate further, landing the matter in court before the Information Review Tribunal. The UL false speculation was debunked by Judge Hazel Oliver who concluded after studying the matter that the blame did not belong to the librarians.
“As explained above, it does appear from the evidence that copies of the thesis may not have been provided to the libraries at the time by the examiners, rather than having been lost or mis-shelved.”
Meanwhile, President Tsai refuses to release her viva report proving she passed the oral examination. The UL will not even name the examiners, citing privacy rights. No explanation has ever been given for the thesis absence from any library collection until 2019. Additionally, no explanation has been offered why the 2019 thesis version resembles a draft document with footnote issues, pagination problems, and handwritten entries including a question mark.
Growing public interest on the social media finally forced the UL to issue a statement admitting they do not know what happened to the missing thesis.
“Dr Tsai Ing-wen, who is now the President of Taiwan, was awarded a PhD in February 1984 following the submission and examination of her thesis by two examiners. While it remains unclear whether copies were deposited with the University’s library, that has no bearing on Dr Tsai’s PhD, which was correctly awarded.”
“The University categorically denies any allegations of wrongdoing or falsehood made against any member of staff in relation to the search for copies of this thesis. All University of London staff who have handled enquiries related to this thesis have done so with the utmost integrity.”
If the UL wants to keep that integrity it should explain about the missing regulation pages governing thesis examinations. Maybe the librarians lost them?
However, a larger question presents itelf. How could the UL know that President Tsai was correctly awarded a PhD degree if they cannot verify the viva examination panel was properly constituted?
Questions abound. Was there an external examiner? Was President Tsai’s advisor, Michael Elliott, an examiner? Was Elliott, who lacked a PhD degree, qualified to be an examiner? Was there ever a completed bound copy of the thesis? Why was the thesis never submitted to the libraries in 1984?
If PresidentTsai wants this mess to go away, her quickest way to quiet the critics will be to release the viva report before it goes missing.
A series of emails from librarians and other school officials at the University of London, recently disclosed by a Freedom of Information request, revealed that the University first knew the 1983 PhD thesis of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen was missing in 2011. The discovery that the dissertation was missing arose out of a search for the thesis triggered by Tsai’s candidacy for public office.
University of London officials never did find the thesis in its Senate House Library, however they located a computer “card output” for the thesis leading them to believe the library once had the thesis but somehow it went missing. However, the school officials were lax academic gatekeepers and they also made no effort to secure a copy for the collection of theses.
Four years later in 2015, another search was made for President Tsai’s thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions. As before, the search was made because of Tsai’s presidential campaign. And, as before, the thesis was never found. This time a deeper search was made and instead of relying on a “card output” to verify that the thesis made it to the shelves, a librarian went into storage and discovered a notation the “card output” did not have. “However, we do have an old card catalogue covering theses from the 1980s and there is a card for this one which indicates we were due to receive the thesis, but it never arrived.”
Curiously, despite Tsai’s election as president of the ROC, neither the officials of UL nor Senate House Library made any effort to obtain a copy of the phantom thesis.
Four years later (yes, there is a pattern here) in 2019, President Tsai’s reelection campaign triggered yet one more search at the University of London for the missing thesis. And, as before, the thesis was not to be found. Finally, the London School of Economics and Political Science, where Tsai took her classes, pressed President Tsai for a copy of the thesis. In June 2019, Tsai offered up an unbound document which appears to be a draft with pagination problems, footnote issues, and handwritten notations including a question mark.
A Freedom of Information request to learn who approved the thesis, the oral viva examiners, was denied by the UL citing President Tsai’s privacy. For her part, Tsai refuses to release the viva examination report. A complaint against UL to the Information Commissioner’s Office was also denied citing Tsai’s right to privacy, explaining that disclosure of the examiner identites might cause Tsai distress.
The UL told the ICO the thesis has been lost during restructuring at the Senate House Library sometime between the 1980s and 2010. Ignoring the more accurate deep search in 2015 that examined the catalog card, the UL assumed its erroneous 2011 claim of having but losing the thesis. “The original copy held by the University library was lost or mis-shelved sometime between mid‐1980s and 2010s over which period there were numerous structural changes to the library.”
The ICO accepted the false speculation as a factual assertion and did not investigate further landing the matter in court before the Information Review Tribunal. The UL false speculation was debunked by Judge Hazel Oliver who concluded after studying the matter that the blame did not belong to the librarians.
“Having viewed the emails from the libraries and the video from Dr. Peng, it does appear that none of the libraries have a record of the thesis being provided at the time the PhD was awarded in 1984. We accept that the explanation provided by the University that the thesis had been lost or mis-shelved may not be correct, as there is no catalogue or microfilm record of the original thesis.”
“A video of Dr. Peng conducting a search for President Tsai’s PhD thesis on the computer records of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) library, assisted by a member of the library staff….shows that they were unable to find a record of the thesis under President Tsai’s name or title of the thesis. The member of the staff says that if the thesis had gone missing it would be in the catalogue, and as it is not there suggests that the library had not received it.”
“As explained above, it does appear from the evidence that copies of the thesis may not have been provided to the libraries at the time by the examiners, rather than having been lost or mis-shelved.”
The Dr. Peng of Judge Oliver’s decision is Taiwan newsman Dennis Peng, himself a PhD. Peng, who hosts the popular YouTube program True Voice of Taiwan, is facing prosecution for criminal defamation for his news reports questioning President Tsai’s degree award. Tsai herself made the complaint to prosecutors making the case a priority matter. Peng, currently in the United States, faces arrest in Taiwan. Because the ROC lacks national sovereignty it has no extradiciton treaty with the United States so Peng is safe from arrests and continues to attract a world-wide audience to his daily news program
Now, with the new FOI email disclosure we know for sure the UL library never received the thesis and that school officials were aware in 2015 it was never received. So, was the false speculation blaming the librarians for losing the thesis, the result of negligence—ignoring the 2015 search? Or, was the false speculation intentional in an effort to deceive?
Sensitive to the bind it is in, the UL recently issued a public announcement reaffirming the legitimacy of President Tsai’s PhD degree and offering that no UL employee did anything improper in explaining the matter. “The University categorically denies any allegations of wrongdoing or falsehood made against any member of staff in relation to the search for copies of this thesis. All University of London staff who have handled enquiries related to this thesis have done so with the utmost integrity.”
Kit Good, the FOI officer at UL who made the false speculation blaming librarians, could not be reached for comment. Good has left the UL after eleven years on the job and does not respond to queries.
Such public deception, trying to blame the librarians, whether intentional or the result of a negligent search, does not enhance the reputation of the University of London. President Tsai could end the controversy that has dogged her and the UL for over two years by making public the viva report but for some inexplicable reason will not do so thus keeping the controversy alive.
I first met Elmer Robert Cecil when we were both teenagers. The introduction was by our mutual friend David Rice, just inside the city council chambers at Omaha City Hall. We were all there to attend a council meeting. Cecil was conservatively dressed, soft-spoken, and extremely polite. I would not see Cecil again for a half-century.
Robert Cecil broke decades of silence during my book tour for FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story and stepped forward to declare the Omaha Two were really the Omaha Three. The Omaha Two were Edward Poindexter and David Rice, later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, who were convicted for the August 17, 1970 bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard. The Omaha Two were leaders of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, a Black Panther affiliate group and consistently denied any role in the crime.
Cecil was a Black Panther member in Omaha during the group’s brief existence in the Midwestern city. In 1969, when the local chapter was dissolved by the national office in Oakland, California. Cecil then joined up with the United Front Against Fascism, later renamed the National Committee to Combat Fascism, a target group of the FBI’s infamous counterintelligence operation code-named COINTELPRO.
Cecil had been an activist at Technical High School and a founder of the BANTU student group. Cecil gained notoriety in 1969 when the Omaha World-Herald published a photo of him emerging from the police station toting a shotgun and wearing an ammo bandoleer. Cecil and others had been picked up for openly carrying firearms but released because it was then lawful to carry unconcealed weapons.
Cecil entered the police investigation of Minard’s death when a search was made of NCCF headquarters shortly after the bombing. Cecil was on duty at the office and answered the door. Police Captain Bruce Hartford described the encounter.
“I pulled the door open and forced the hook in the lock and after someone told me, he has a gun in his hand, he has a shotgun, and we went in.”
“I seen the shotgun in Cecil’s hand after I entered the inside and there were rifles, numerous shells laying around in the front room and bandoleers or canvas belts and we proceeded then into the basement.”
Hartford described using Cecil as a human shield. “Right ahead of me when I went in the basement….Well, I figured if it was booby trapped, and it gave all this appearance, that I would sure as hell take him with me.”
The shotgun had a shortened barrel which led to federal firearms charges against Cecil. At a book talk at the Great Plains Black History Museum in Omaha the long-silent Cecil came forward to tell part of his story. Cecil described being held by Hartford as the police searched the headquarters.
“The Omaha Two was really the Omaha Three. I got two years for a quarter inch. I served two years in a federal prison for a sawed off shotgun. The legal length of the barrel was eighteen inches. They said my gun was seventeen and three-quarters in length.”
Cecil also explained the newspaper photo of him carrying a shotgun outside the police station. A group of Black Panthers was stopped in traffic with a car full of legal weapons. “They took us downtown and after they held us a while they had to let us go, we were breaking no law.”
At a pretrial hearing in March 1971, Robert Cecil was called to testify about the search of NCCF headquarters. Cecil denied having a gun in his hands when Captain Hartford broke the lock on the front door. Cecil testified he was handcuffed before being used as a human shield.
Prosecutor Arthur O’Leary explained the police actions were because it was an emergency search. “What I am trying to get at, there were weapons, there were signs in the house indicating danger and so forth and the police were in a hurry to do what they had to do.”
O’Leary then questioned Cecil about the term “racist pig” but Cecil turned the taunt back. “But we used fascist pig. We don’t use racist pig.”
In April 1972, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld Cecil’s conviction for a sawed off shotgun seized during the raid of the headquarters in Omaha. However, the court was critical of police search tactics.
“Hartford pulled the screen door open, breaking the lock, and the officers entered in a rush….The search, subsequent to the seizure of the gun and the defendant’s arrest, is not pertinent here and we say no more in that regard than that we disapprove of the manner in which it was conducted.”
Circuit Judge Heaney dissented, arguing that police lacked probable cause to arrest Cecil and provided more details of the search which used Cecil as a human shield. “I fail to understand why a temporary seizure of the defendant and the weapon would not have sufficiently protected the officers.”
“Instead, the police handcuffed the defendant and used him as a human shield to protect them as they searched the house, on the theory that if any occupants of the house fired on the police, Cecil would take the brunt of it.”
Robert Cecil was well known to the Intelligence Squad of the Omaha Police Department and made it onto detective Jack Swanson’s list of 39 suspects in the Minard case. Before his death in prison in March 2016, Mondo wrote that the testimony and evidence at trial could have led to charges against four other individuals besides himself and Ed Poindexter. Mondo said that Raleigh House, Donald Peak, Jr., Robert Cecil and Frank Peak could have all been charged.
Duane Peak, the confessed bomber, testified that Raleigh House supplied the suitcase and dynamite to make the bomb. One of Donald Peak’s sisters identified the voice on the 911 tape, which lured Minard to his death, as Donald’s and put him and Duane with the suitcase together hours before the bombing. Frank Peak, a cousin of Duane and Donald, was purportedly at a planning session for the crime according to Duane. Cecil’s possible role came from reports of the crime laboratory at the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Division in Washington.
According to Maynard Pro, the assistant chief of the ATF laboratory, dynamite particles were found in the trousers of Cecil. ATF chemist Kenneth Snow testified at trial that hand swabs from Cecil tested positive for dynamite. Cecil declined to discuss the dynamite evidence beyond a short statement.
“I’m sure it was part of the fabrication of their evidence if the other two were found not guilty. I told you I was the lucky one. They wanted us off the street, one way or another.”
“I still feel that it is not time to talk about what has happened to me. I do not talk about those days, I am reluctant as to how I was treated by both sides. Perhaps in the future.”
Now there is no future for Cecil to unburden himself of the painful past. The time to talk has passed and longstanding questions have gone to the grave unanswered.
So how did dynamite traces show up on Cecil’s pants and hand swabs? Dynamite particles were also allegedly found in clothing of Poindexter and Mondo by the ATF lab. The clothing had been transported to Washington by ATF agent Thomas Sledge, along with three vials of dynamite particles, for testing. Sledge’s brother James, an Omaha policeman, had been injured in the bombing and Sledge is suspected of salting the clothing with dynamite particles. Sledge may have done the same with the hand swabs, cotton balls stored in a plastic bag. However, hand swabs from Poindexter and Mondo turned up negative for dynamite raising a question about Cecil’s swab test results.
Ed Poindexter, serving a life sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for the fatal bombing, says he first learned of Cecil’s hand swabs from the witness stand at his trial. Poindexter, who steadfastly maintains his innocence, is quick to point out his hand swabs came out negative for dynamite.
Cecil’s name emerged again in 1980 during post-trial proceedings. Attorney William Cunningham, representing Mondo, disclosed that the Omaha ATF office sought conspiracy charges against twenty-two black activists in four states, including Cecil, for bombings in the 1970’s. United States Attorney Richard Dier refused to bring charges against the group, dubbed the Midwest 22, ending federal attempts to further imprison Cecil.
Robert Cecil did his time for the sawed-off shotgun and after prison returned to Omaha, abandoning the activism that marked his time as a Black Panther. The COINTELPRO program was terminated ten days after the Omaha Two trial ended in April 1971. Duane Peak, the confessed bomber, made a deal with the Douglas County Attorney and never spend a day in prison for the bombing death of Larry Minard. Ed Poindexter remains in prison, trapped by wrongs of the past that many do not want to correct or remember.
FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.com. The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.
Threatened with invasion by the People’s Republic of China, the people of Taiwan are closely watching events in Ukraine as Russian troops invade. The talk on the street in Taipei is concern that the PRC will support the Russian military incursion in exchange for Russian support of an invasion of Taiwan. The invasion comes at an emotional time in Taiwan, the annual recognition of the 228 Massacre of February 1947. Kuomintang soldiers sent to Formosa, as Taiwan was then called, squelched a spontaneous Formosan uprising against the harsh occupation rule by the Republic of China that resulted in deaths, torture, and imprisonment of unknown thousands of innocent people.
Chilly Chen of Taiwan Nation, a Taiwanese independence group, expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine while reminding of unfinished work against authoritarianism. At a curbside news conference Chen called for the removal of Chiang Kai-shek statues.
“The regulations for promoting transitional justice have been enacted for many years, and the demolition of authoritarian symbols is well-founded in accordance with the law. Unfortunately, the bronze statues of Chiang Kai-shek and his son are still scattered throughout the country’s institutions and campuses, constantly evoking the painful memories of the victims.”
Longtime independence advocate Aquia Tsai also noted unfinished business in a statement. “My argument is very simple, as long as the name of the constitution implemented in Taiwan is the “Constitution of the Republic of China” (no matter how many times it is amended), the Republic of China in Taiwan is the former Chinese government-in-exile illegally stranded. Taiwan is in a state of slavery under colonial rule by a government-in-exile.”
A commemorative march in Taipei marked the solemn occasion, once a year, when the fog of ambiguity lifts for a day and the sins of the ruling exiled government are recalled. Fifty different civic organizations acknowledged the 228 anniversary.
Flexing its political muscle, the New Power Party has called for the dismantling of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Legislative Yuan member Chiu Hsien-chih however warned that the Transitional Justice Committee’s mandate is to end in May and is not likely to be extended. “Its work to recover White Terror era files and government documents and remove all authoritarian symbols has not been completed. If the committee is terminated in May, it would be disrespectful to the wishes of 228 Massacre victims and their families.”
“We have welcomed visitors from Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic, whose people have fought authoritarian regimes to become democracies. How can we explain why in the center of Taipei, we still have this monument to commemorate a dictator?”
Chiu introduced a petition with five demands, including taking action to dismantle the memorial hall and Chiang’s statues at government offices and properties within three months, cutting funding for military honor guards and upkeep of the memorial hall and burial places of Chiang and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo.
Scholars at the University of London may want to brush up on Twentieth Century history. A recent University news release defending a controversial PhD award to Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen erroneously referred to Tsai as “President of Taiwan.” For the record, there is no sovereign nation by the name Taiwan. Taiwanese athletes competing in the Olymics must participate under the Chinese Taipei banner because Taiwan is not a country. If UL administrators check with the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom they will discover that their nation does not recognize Taiwan as a country.
One would expect the University of London to be more accurate in its news releases, however seven decades of strategic ambiguity have left most people confused about Taiwan’s international status. Apparently UL publicists are no exception.
Long before the island of 23.5 million inhabitants came to be called Taiwan, it was called Formosa. A former Japanese colony, Formosa’s status became unresolved by World War II followed by the Cold War. The United States, which defeated Japan during World War II, installed the Republic of China as a caretaker regime following the war and let them set up shop after the ROC lost its civil war with the Chinese Communist Party. Now the People’s Republic of China makes territorial demands against Taiwan because President Tsai’s exiled Chinese government controls the island. Confusion over Taiwan’s status and lack of sovereignty serves no one and endangers the island from invasion by the PRC.
The University of London’s erroneous news release adds a layer of confusion to the already muddled controversy surrounding President Tsai’s PhD thesis. The University granted Tsai a degree in 1984 but does not have a thesis from Tsai in its library collection. When confronted with the problem of a missing thesis, the school, through spokesman Kit Good, alleged they had the thesis but it was lost by librarians. After Information Review Tribunal Judge Hazel Oliver dismissed the claim that librarians lost the thesis the school now says they do not know if they had her thesis or not. That story however contradicts email correspondence from the school’s Senate House Library that the thesis was never received.
The University of London says not to worry because the degree was correctly awarded despite the absence of a thesis and its refusal to name the examiners who purportedly approved the “lost” thesis. For her part, President Tsai refuses to release the thesis viva examination report naming the examiners. Tsai deepened the controversy in 2019 when she filed, 35 years late, a copy of the thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions with the London School of Economics and Political Science, a subsidiary of the University of London. The thesis, now on file at LSE, appears to be a draft document with pagination problems, footnote issues, and hand-written notations including a question mark. Taiwan’s international status is not the only ambiguity in this academic mystery. The question of who approved such a thesis remains unanswered.
Mild mannered and exquisitely polite, Professor Hwan Lin is an unlikely candidate for the perjorative “vexatious” label. Yet that is what the University of London says about the Taiwanese-American scholar. The University has gone so far as to deny a Freedom of Information request from Lin for information concerning the PhD thesis of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen using his purported vexatiousness as the excuse.
Lin has stated he intends to refer the matter to the United Kingdom Information Commissioner to determine whether his FOI request was vexatious or not. Lin has shared his request so you can decide for yourself if you believe Lin was being vexatious.
Dear University of London,
In 1984, there was Central Registry within Academic Division of the Senate Department of the University of London, and Mrs. P. C. Kennedy served as Supervisor of the Central Registry according to the University of London Calendar of 1983-84.
Please kindly answer the following questions:
1. Did Mrs. P. C. Kennedy continue to serve as Supervisor of the Central Registry in 1987 at the University of London? Does she still work at the University of London today?
2. Was there a person, called “Mrs. A. M. Amos,” who worked together with Mrs. P. C. Kennedy within the Central Registry in 1984? If not, did Mrs. A. M. Amos work elsewhere then at the University of London?
The above questions are my FOIA request to the University of London. Thank you very much for your valuable time in advance.
Lin’s inquiry was directed at exploration of the paper trail at the University of London over the years concerning President Tsai’s thesis. The Senate House Library, the offical repository of theses for the University of London, never received a copy of the thesis, raising questions about the validity of Tsai’s PhD degree awarded in 1984.
In refusing to answer Lin’s questions, the school explained its rationale for non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.
“The University considers that your request has the potential to cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or distress.”
“Your request has met one or more of the following criteria of a vexatious request: being a burden on the authority; using abusive or aggressive language; bearing a personal grudge; being of unreasonable persistence; giving unfounded accusations; or a deliberate attempt to cause annoyance.”
Lin’s request does not seem like much of a burden and he certainly didn’t use abusive language. There does not seem to be a personal grudge angle either. To be sure, Lin is persistent, but is he being unreasonable?
Perhaps the University sees Lin guilty of unfounded accusations for his critical public report on President Tsai’s PhD degree. Surely Lin is not guilty of a deliberate attempt to annoy. The University of London may wish to tap into some of their best linguists to craft an answer in the event the Information Commissioner demands an explanation for the vexatious refusal to comply with the law.
As a courtesy, Lin replied to Records Management and Information Governance Officer Emily Brick that she had defamed him with her accusation of vexatiousness. Lin further explained the requested information had already been published by the school so there was no problem with disclosure of personal data.
“Public authorities are obligated to provide recorded information, particularly when it has been made accessible to the public. The record of the Central-Registry staff was already published in the University of London Calendars in the 1980s.”
Former Republic of China in-exile President Ma Ying-jeou is trying to rewrite Taiwan’s sad history of martial law under the brutal White Terror period by ignoring the murder of author Henry Liu. Ma was on hand to open the Chiang Ching-kuo Cultural Center in Taipei last week where he praised his former boss. Chiang, son of dictator Chiang Kai-shek, was ruthless against Taiwanese independence advocates overseeing the execution or imprisonment of thousands of innocent people and political prisoners during decades of martial law.
Ma Ying-jeou was Chiang’s translator for seven years and was at the center of Kuomintang control of Taiwan during the last several years of Chiang’s harsh administration. Ma now wants the public to believe that Chiang was a benevolent sort who should be honored for ending martial law after a friendly suggestion from Richard Ciccolella, the former head of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group.
David Kaplan, author of Fires of the Dragon, the story of Henry Liu’s murder, offers a different view of events. According to Kaplan, the end of martial law came when Chiang, filled with remorse, realized his secret police apparatus was responsible for the murder of Henry Liu, who had authored a critical biography of Chiang. Liu, living in Daly City, California, was murdered October 15, 1984 in his own garage by assassins of the infamous Bamboo Gang working for ROC security forces under Chiang.
The assassination had been planned by Chen Chi-li, a leader of the Bamboo Gang, and carried out by two gang members, Wu Tun and Tung Kuei-sen. The killers were acting on the request of the head of the Military Intelligence Bureau, Vice Admiral Wang Hse-ling. Officials from the ROC refused to remand the suspects to United States custody. Tung was the only one of six named conspirators to stand trial in the United States, despite State Department requests to have Chen Chi-li and Wu Tun stand trial as well. Tung was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison where he was stabbed to death in 1991 while serving his sentence.
After protracted legal proceedings in Taiwan, Chen Chi-li, Wu Tun, and Wang Hsi-ling were sentenced to life in prison, commuted to15 years and granted parole in 1991. Two others, Hu Yi-min and Chen Hu-men, received sentences of two and a half years for support roles in the killing. Chen later changed his name to Chen Yi-chiaco and was promoted to a director of a Military Intelligence Bureau following his release from prison.
Taiwan’s martial law, which was imposed on May 20, 1949, finally ended on July 15, 1987, but not before thousands were murdered, tortured, and imprisoned for no crime other than being Taiwanese.
The Transitional Justice Commission issued a news release critical of the Chiang Ching-kuo memorial park and library. The Commission said the establishment of the library and park glorified an authoritarian figure. Chiang, the eldest son of Chiang Kai-shek, was president of the ROC from May 1978 to January 1988.
“In contrast to the fact that the park is still named after Chiang Ching-kuo… various agencies across the country have successively disposed of the symbols of Chiang Ching-kuo left over from the authoritarian era in the past.”
“The entire park and the library are named after Chiang Ching-kuo. If the park is open to the public in the future, it will already be an authoritative symbol of the so-called “commemoration of public buildings or places, and memory of authoritarian rulers”.
“There are 72 symbols related to Chiang Ching-kuo in the country….The distribution sites are all over the country, including 33 statues, 19 portraits, and 20 in the name of Chiang Ching-kuo….Among the 72 authoritarian symbols…10 statues have been removed, and 2 spaces have been renamed.”
Attending the ceremony was current ROC President Tsai Ing-wen. TsaI’s supporters called her attendance “nuanced” and with the intention of uniting Taiwan. Tsai’s critics felt she should have not attended the ceremony and that her presence was an insult to all of Chiang’s many victims.
President Tsai appealed for a better understanding of the authoritarian ruler, “Chiang’s staunch defense of Taiwan is a stance that unites a large part of Taiwanese society, especially as Beijing applies ever greater pressure against the country.”
Taiwan Society chairman Lee Chuan-hsin said, “it would be better if Tsai could elaborate on Chiang’s role during the authoritarian regime and clarify the controversy regarding the park’s legitimacy.”
Taiwanese independence advocates argue that as long as Chinese hero worship of the Chiang dynasty exists, the People’s Republic of China will continue to threaten Taiwan.
Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen studied trade law at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the early 1980’s. The LSE was not then able to award PhD degrees of its own. Instead, the University of London awarded its diploma to LSE graduates. Unnamed thesis examiners purportedly approved President Tsai’s dissertation entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions following a oral viva examination on October 16, 1983. However, when one asks questions about the viva examination, neither school has the requested information and both claim the other school holds the answers. Who is the gatekeeper?
President Tsai’s thesis never made it into either school’s library, as called for by academic protocol. Absent from library shelves for thirty-five years, Tsai triggered a media frenzy in June 2019 when she submitted an unbound copy of the tardy thesis to the LSE Library. Clouding matters is the fact the thesis resembles a draft document with pagination problems, footnote issues, and hand-written notations, including a question mark.
President Tsai has not released the viva examination report naming the examiners, who she boasts wanted to give her a double degree because of the high quality of her work. Neither school will answer inquiries about the identity of the examiners citing Tsai’s right to privacy. Attempts to pierce the veil of secrecy surrounding the thesis using the Freedom of Information Act have been blocked and are now pending in United Kingdom courts.
Both schools have buttressed their right-to-privacy denials with a second line of defense, a purported lack of records. The LSE went first in 2019, claiming the UL held all the examination records. In a November 8, 2019 response to a FOI request, Rachael Maguire, Information and Records Manager, said: “I can confirm that the Department of Law holds no records relating to President Tsai’s PhD. At that point in time, the School did not award degrees as it had no degree awarding powers. As such, all records relating to the degree are held by the University of London.”
The LSE claim of no records shifted public attention to the UL, which has been battling FOI requests for two years. Now, the UL has adopted the LSE’s mantra and claims it has no PhD award records. In a January 11, 2022 response to an information request, Suzie Mereweather, Head of Data Protection and Information Compliance said: “The primary record for PhD awards is held by the Member Institution, not the University of London.”
When challenged about a 2019 public announcement by the LSE that President Tsai was properly awarded a degree, an Internal Review was conducted by Louise Nadal, Secretary of the LSE Board, who defended the pronouncement.
“I note that in your request for an internal review, you have questioned whether the School’s public statement on Dr. Tsai’s PhD can be accurate on the basis that, in your opinion, it could not be compiled without the information you have requested. As you are aware, the School has made a copy of Ing-Wen Tsai’s thesis available online and has confidence in the accuracy of its public statement.”
Reliance by the LSE on the tardy thesis for confidence in the verification of the thesis, despite an absence of records, has been joined by the UL, which now cites the LSE statement as proof that President Tsai qualified for the UL degree. If the LSE does not have “records relating to the degree” and the UL lacks the “primary record for PhD awards” then there is little left to support the claims of the two schools.
Where are President Tsai’s PhD award records? Who were the thesis examiners? Who is the gatekeeper?