Four months after a Republic of China in-exile wrecking crew demolished the headquarters of Taiwan Civil Government, an advocacy group, the wrecking equipment remains parked on site. TCG banners and memorabilia lie broken and tattered in the mud and gravel of the once busy headquarters. My visit to the scene of political repression by the ROC reminiscent of the White Terror period and long martial law era was a catch-your-breath moment as I surveyed the destruction.
On July 2, the ROC demolished a new headquarters annex being constructed behind TCG headquarters. Three weeks later, a ROC wrecking crew returned to tear down the main building to which TCG held a lease valid until 2025.
I already knew the ROC was desperate to shut down TCG and their effort to expel the ROC from Taiwan. I had already seen pictures of the demolitions in progress so there was no surprise what happened. Still, I was unprepared for the somber sight of complete devastation and wandered the scarred and barren ground in silence.
The in-your-face evidence of political repression is unavoidable as you step over rubble and debris. To add further injury, the ROC billed TCG to finish clearing trash from the site.. The new building, not yet finished, had cost the group ten million NTD.
Taiwan Civil Government members are locked in a battle with the Republic of China in-exile. The lopsided struggle of a grassroots advocacy group against an exiled government led to such drastic, authoritarian action as the destruction of TCG headquarters. Although prosecutors claim they are protecting group members from predatory leaders with fraud charges, the police conduct video surveillance of rank and file members in an apparent attempt to intimidate them from parading.
Prosecutors have also had their interrogators make a false claim of a faked photo of President Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to TCG members undergoing interrogation. In keeping with that deception the prosecutors have submitted to the court dozens of names of victims that deny their victimhood. The recent death of TCG founder Roger Lin forced prosecutors to dismiss charges against him although they still seek to send his widow, Julian, to prison.
The destruction of TCG headquarters is a stark reminder of the ROC destruction of a Mount Zion church during the martial law era in the early 1980s.
The Grace of Jesus Christ Crusade and New Testament Church, a small Christian sect, believes a mountain in Taiwan, which they have named Mount Zion, is the earthly home of God. The true believers acquired land in the mountains outside Kaohsiung in 1979 after a vision of prophet Elijah Hong that the hillside was the Lord’s house as prophesied in the Bible. They built a road, dug a lake, planted fields and orchards, and built homes and a church. Although the small group spent most of their time on the mountain building their community they attracted unwelcome attention from ROC political spies under dictator Chiang Ching-kuo. The church members often dressed alike, enjoyed waving the church flag, and entertained foreign visitors which signaled to Chiang’s authoritarian government the group was political in nature.
Prophet Hong decried “the attacks of the Kuomintang regime, which used their party, military, police, intelligence, and media to carry out their persecution.”
ROC security forces evicted the church members from their homes and set up roadblocks and checkpoints to prevent their return. Bulldozers and wrecking equipment were sent in to demolish the structures including the house of worship and a sacred prayer tower. After the community was driven from their homes and the church demolished, the harried group moved to a nearby riverbed and camped along the river for several years, suffering from floods and other hardships. In 1985, the ROC arrived at the river encampment and demolished a shanty church building erected by the homeless Christians.
Now in 2019 the same wrecking tactics used against the Mount Zion church people have been resurrected against Taiwan Civil Government. Because of media manipulation at the time of the fraud arrests no one is paying attention to what has been happening against the group and the shocking return of martial law era tactics. The Taiwanese public would be wise to condemn this blatant return to authoritarianism.