Roger Lin, founder of Taiwan Civil Government, imprisoned on political fraud charges was freed on ten million yuan bail after telling a Taoyuan District Court judge that he was willing to be a martyr for Taiwan. Lin’s declaration, and plea in behalf of other TCG members, followed a full-page New York Times advertisement a week earlier calling on the United Nations to investigate the case.
Prosecutors of the exiled Republic of China, opposed bail and asked the judge to continue Lin’s four-month incommunicado detention in solitary confinement. Lin’s group seeks the expulsion of the ROC from Taiwan and wants United States supervision of a transition to sovereignty for the 23 million stateless island inhabitants. Taiwan’s longstanding “strategic ambiguity” and lack of sovereignty have kept it from membership in international organizations and increasingly called Chinese Taipei. Although the political overtones of the case are glaring, the prosecution of Lin has been ignored by both the Taiwanese independence movement and the American news media as prosecutors have portrayed Lin as a criminal mastermind.
Released with Lin was his wife Julian, also held incommunicado, on seven million yuan bail and Yu Hsiang-Ching on three million yuan bond. The prison ordeal of the trio began in May with midnight raids followed by harsh detention in solitary punishment cells, without furniture, and no visitors. It took a court order to get medical treatment for Roger Lin, suffering from progressive prostate cancer. Julian Lin was kept from seeing her two adopted infant children. Mr. Yu, the 80 year-old landlord of TCG headquarters, suffering from multiple medical problems had significant weight loss during his confinement.
At a hearing on detention, Lin told the judge that even under the Kuomintang period couples were not held in custody at the same time. Lin pointed out there were two young children involved. Lin invoked the bond between mother and child.
Lin said the hateful treatment of Taiwan Civil Government defendants reminded him of the 228 Massacre and the White Terror period of the Kuomintang. The harsh treatment was designed to force a confession. “I am already prepared for Taiwan’s martyrdom, but please release two innocent people. The two of them do not understand Taiwan’s international status.”
While Roger’s attempt to shield his wife is understandable and it is easy to believe his scope of knowledge on the history of Taiwan’s “political purgatory” exceeds that of Julian, she has been actively speaking against Chinese Taipei and Taiwan’s lack of membership in the United Nations on TCG junkets to the United States. Such advocacy does not make Julian Lin innocent in the minds of ROC prosecutors.
When the Lins were released on bail they were afforded a hero’s welcome by TCG loyalists gathered to witness the release. Earlier, hordes of TCG members lined the halls of the Taoyuan District Court building for the hearing. Even though only eighteen members of the public are permitted in the small courtroom where the hearings are conducted, a long line of TCG members dressed in their black suits and lapel pins filled a corridor outside.
After a happy reunion with supporters at the jail Lin traveled to TCG headquarters where he convened a round table meeting to give thanks for donations and offer his vision of Taiwan’s future free of the exiled Republic of China. According to Lin the resiliency of the organization to stay strong following the fraud arrests shows the strength of the group’s message.
Lin supporters were able to raise over $600,000 in one day to meet the bail demands. The loyalists are a sharp contrast to the prosecution’s complaining witnesses. Although prosecutors boasted they had 315 complainants, the list of potential witnesses against the Lins has eroded to 66 disgruntled members who are unhappy about their TCG identity cards and vanity license plates according to news reports in Taiwan.
The prosecution of TCG’s leadership promises to bring Taiwan’s unresolved status, and America’s role in the situation, into court and provide Roger Lin an unintended soapbox to the world. Taiwanese independence advocates should pay more attention as TCG may find itself leading the march to sovereignty.
Some information in this report is from citizen reporter Lin Shan-feng who was present in the courtroom.