Lin Yi-hsiung

Lin Yi-hsiung (Chinese: 林義雄; born 24 August 1941) is a politician from Taiwan. He was a major leader of the democratization movement in Taiwan. He graduated from the Department of Law of National Taiwan University. He was first exposed to politics in 1976 while serving as attorney for Kuo Yu-hsin [zh] (1908–1985) who sued the ruling KMT party for electoral fraud. Lin was elected a member of Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council in Kuo's old electorate in 1977.

Lin Yi-hsiung
President Direct Election Movement Yi-hsiung Lin.jpg
Lin Yi-hsiung at the rally for direct presidential election in 1992
Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party
In office
18 July 1998 – 20 April 2000
Preceded byHsu Hsin-liang
Succeeded byFrank Hsieh
Personal details
Born (1941-08-24) 24 August 1941 (age 80)
Goketsu Village, Ratō District, Taihoku Prefecture, Japanese Taiwan (modern-day Wujie Township, Yilan County, Taiwan)
Political partyDemocratic Progressive Party (1989-2006)
Independent (2006-present)
Spouse(s)Fang Su-min
Alma materNational Taiwan University
Harvard University
Lin Yi-hsiung
Traditional Chinese林義雄
Simplified Chinese林义雄

Lin family massacreEdit

On 13 December 1979, Lin was arrested for his involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident.[1][2] His wife, Fang Su-min, and mother were first allowed to visit him on 27 February 1980;[1] Lin was in detention and had been beaten severely by Taiwanese police. Lin's 60-year-old mother, Yu A-mei (游阿妹; Yóu ā mèi), contacted Amnesty International's office in Osaka, Japan, after their visit.[3]

Condolences and photos of the victims, 2019 anniversary memorial service at Gikong Presbyterian Church.

Around noon on 28 February, an unknown assailant or assailants broke into Lin's home off Xinyi Road in Taipei and stabbed Yu and Lin's three daughters. Yu and two of the daughters, 6-year-old twins Lin Liang-chun (林亮均; Lín liàng jūn) and Lin Ting-chun (林亭均; Lín tíng jūn), died of their wounds;[4][5] the eldest daughter, 9-year-old Judy Linton (Lin Huan-chun), was badly wounded after being stabbed multiple times and was the only survivor of the incident.[6] Fang was not at home, as she was visiting Lin at the time.[7] The authorities claimed to know nothing about the murders, even though Lin's house was under tight 24-hour police surveillance;[8] because of this, it has been speculated the murders were committed as a warning to other pro-democracy activists.[2][9]

I don't know if [the murderer] is still alive now. But I don't hate him, because love is our best weapon.

 — Fang Su-min, quoted in 2002 Taipei Times article[2]

There are no suspects in the murders to this day;[10] although a foreign family friend of the Lins was officially accused and placed under "police protection", he later was cleared.[11][12][13][14] Investigative journalist David E. Kaplan concluded the "Iron Blood Patriots", a criminal gang, may have been responsible, under the auspices of Chiang Hsiao-wu.[15][16]


Fang moved to the US with her eldest daughter in 1981;[1][17] Lin Huan-chun learned piano, embraced Christianity, and married Rev. Joel Linton in 1998.[18][19] She is now a renowned pianist and gospel singer in Taiwan.[6][17] After returning to Taiwan in 1983, Fang was elected to the Legislative Yuan in December of that year.[1][4] Chen Ding-nan stated the murder of Lin's mother and daughters also motivated him to start his political career.[20]

In August 1984, Lin left jail on parole.[21] Desmond Tutu met with Lin during a visit to Taiwan in 2007, urging forgiveness and publicity for Lin's story.[22]

President Tsai Ing-wen attends the annual memorial service at Gikong Presbyterian Church on Feb 28, 2017.

The Gikong or Yi-Kwang Presbyterian Church (義光長老教會) was erected on the site of the former Lin family residence off Hsinyi Road.[2][23] A memorial service is held annually at the church on February 28.[24] Gikong was founded to provide religious services and comfort for the families of dissidents affected by the Kaohsiung Incident, and later expanded its mission to all political victims.[25][26]


The case was reopened in 2009 by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office; it was discovered that a call had been placed from the Lin's home to a restaurant shortly after the murders, but the caller did not speak.[27] No new interviews were conducted for the later investigation,[27] and the investigation was closed after four months. The High Prosecutors Office concluded there was not enough forensic evidence, and further, there was nothing to tie the Taiwan Garrison Command to the crime.[28] The investigation was criticized as a sham, intended only "to prove that security agencies were not behind [the crimes]."[27]

In 2018, the Transitional Justice Commission announced it would investigate the massacre using documents from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau.[29] Some of those records had been damaged in the wake of Typhoon Nari in 2001.[30] For other records belonging to the National Security Bureau, it was not certain that all the requested documents could be declassified.[9]

Post incident careerEdit

Lin returned to Taiwan in 1989 and became a major advocate against nuclear power in Taiwan soon after. In 1995, he ran and lost in the Democratic Progressive Party's four-way primary for the 1996 Taiwan presidential election.[citation needed]

Three years later, Lin Yi-hsiung became the 8th Chairperson of Democratic Progressive Party (1998–2000) and successfully ran a campaign for Chen Shui-bian as the 10th President of the Republic of China. Immediately following Chen's election in May 2000, Lin demonstrated his unwillingness to share the spoils of victory in a surprising retirement from DPP's chairmanship. Citing Robert Frost's poem, he retired with the remark that he preferred to take "the road less travelled by".[citation needed]

Leaving all public and party posts behind him, Lin has been concerning himself with 'reform from outside (the centers of power)' as he campaigns for various issues of environmental justice and parliamentary reform, most importantly in mobilizing public support against nuclear power (2000) and for reducing the number of parliamentary seats by half (2004), both of which are detrimental to Chen's and DPP's hold on power.[citation needed]

In late 2005, he encouraged and endorsed Wong Chin-chu's candidacy in the Democratic Progressive Party's chairmanship by-election of 15 January 2006. Some observers considered Wong as the reformist candidate because the two other candidates each represented the then president and premier's factions respectively. Lacking a factional base, however, Wong was only able to marshall 9.4% of the votes.[citation needed]

Less than two weeks later, on 24 January 2006, Lin Yi-hsiung renounced membership of the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan. He said the elections of recent years had become partisan dogfights, resulting in national upheaval. He therefore had no intention of serving in the party's administration, nor of running for public office for the party. According to Lin Yi-hsiung, it was no longer meaningful to be a DPP member, and he has chosen to be a non-partisan citizen of his democratic country.[citation needed]

Despite this, Lin recently endorsed and campaigned for the Democratic Progressive Party's two candidates in the December 2006 mayoral elections. Lin went on the campaign trail for Frank Hsieh (candidate for Mayor of Taipei City) and Chen Chu (candidate for Mayor of Kaohsiung City), both of whom are long time friends of his dating back to the late 1970s. He states that despite all its vices, the Democratic Progressive Party still remains the most progressive party in Taiwan.[31]

On 22 April 2014, Lin Yi-hsiung began a hunger strike at Taipei's Gikong Presbyterian Church to demand that the government halt the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City's Gongliao District, while also calling for an amendment to the referendum law. Lin intended to sustain the fast until construction of the nuclear power plant was halted.[32][33] He ended the strike eight days later when the government pledged to halt construction on the power plant.[34]


  1. ^ a b c d Lai, Cheryl (3 February 2000). "Of mothers and daughters". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Lin, Mei-chun (1 March 2002). "Lin commemorates family's 228 tragedy". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  3. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (16 February 1992). "A Dictatorship That Grew Up". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b Lin, Irene (3 February 2000). "Opposition activist tries to bury family pain". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  5. ^ Lin, Irene (19 January 2000). "Lin family comes to terms with twins' murder". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019. It would have been their 26th birthday on Feb. 2 of [2000]. They should have had dates like other girls at their age. And they might have married like their elder sister did.
  6. ^ a b Chang, Yun-Ping (26 September 2003). "Murder survivor releases album". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ Chang, Rich (1 March 2009). "Lin says renaming hall an insult". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  8. ^ Roy, Denny (2003). Taiwan: A Political History. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801488054.
  9. ^ a b Chen, Yu-fu (31 December 2018). "Declassification slowing justice process: source". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Funeral for Lin Yi-hsiung's mother and daughters" (PDF). Taiwan Communiqué. International Committee for Human Rights in Taiwan. 18: 2. February 1985. ISSN 1027-3999.
  11. ^ Jacobs, Bruce (13 September 2009). "Editorial: Murder probe reveals nothing new". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  12. ^ Hsiang, Cheng-chen; Chin, Jonathan (20 July 2016). "Judicial Yuan nominee denies White Terror Roles". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  13. ^ Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定). "Judicial Yuan nominee defends his record". Liberty Times (Interview). Interviewed by Hsiang Cheng-chen; William Hetherington. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  14. ^ Cheung, Han (13 August 2016). "Book review: A 'big beard' in authoritarian Taiwan". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ Wright, David Curtis (2011). "A Prosperous and Confused Island: Taiwan since 1945". The History of China (second ed.). Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood. pp. 257–259. ISBN 978-0-313-37748-8. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Who murdered Mr Lin's mother and daughters?" (PDF). Taiwan Communiqué (2). January 1981. ISSN 1027-3999. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b Chang, Yun-Ping (9 November 2003). "White Terror survivor finds peace in music, religion". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  18. ^ Linton, Judy (2003). "Judy's Testimony".
  19. ^ Chen, Hui-ping; Hsu, Stacy (24 April 2014). "Lin's daughter sends support in letter". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  20. ^ Chang, Rich (6 November 2006). "Chen Ding-nan loses cancer battle". Taipei Times.
  21. ^ "Lin Yi-hsiung and Kao Chun-ming released" (PDF). Taiwan Communiqué (16). August 1984. ISSN 1027-3999. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  22. ^ Huang, Jewel (25 April 2007). "Desmond Tutu encourages reconciliation, forgiveness". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  23. ^ Wang, Flora (1 March 2007). "The 228 Incident: Sixty years on - Lin I-hsiung mourns his lost loved ones". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  24. ^ Loa, Iok-sin (1 March 2013). "The 228 Incident: Lin I-hsiung's family tragedy commemorated". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  25. ^ Tin, John Jyigiokk, ed. (1982). Through the Shadow of Death from the Residence of Lawyer Lim to the Gikong Presbyterian Church. Gikong Church Committee.
  26. ^ Lin, Christine Louise (January 1999). Mair, Victor H. (ed.). "The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and the Advocacy of Local Autonomy" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers (92): 80.
  27. ^ a b c Loa, Iok-sin (17 January 2010). "Critics pan probe of 1980s murders". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  28. ^ Wang, Flora (21 August 2009). "Groups disappointed with probe". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  29. ^ Chen, Yu-fu; Hsiao, Sherry (3 July 2018). "Commission to look into alleged political killings". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  30. ^ Chen, Yu-fu; Hsiao, Sherry (21 July 2018). "Justice commission looks into suspect political cases". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  31. ^ Wang, Flora (7 December 2006). "Lin I-hsiung hits the trail for DPP". Taipei Times. p. 3. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  32. ^ Wang, Chris (23 April 2014). "Lin starts anti-nuclear hunger strike". Taipei Times. p. 1. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  33. ^ "Lin Yi-hsiung: Referendum Law must be amended first for meaningful result". Taiwan News. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  34. ^ "Cabinet happy to see ex-DPP head end hunger strike: spokesman". Focus Taiwan. CNA. 30 April 2014.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Chairperson of the DPP
Succeeded by