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alleged role in the murders will likely never be clarified. Regardless of
who was ultimately responsible for the Lin family murders, a climate
of terror and intimidation prevailed in Taiwan for months afterward,
as Kuomintang goon squads roamed the island unchecked and
unchallenged (Kaplan 1992, 305-306).
The next political murder to shake the island occurred in the
summer of 1981, when the body of Chen Wen-chen was found in
Taipei early one morning on the campus of National Taiwan Univer-
sity, Taiwan's premier institution of higher learning. Chen Wen-chen,
a native of Taiwan, had earned a Ph.D. in statistics at the University
of Michigan and landed a tenure track position at Carnegie-Mellon
University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While he was visiting family
and friends in Taiwan that year, three Kuomintang members from
Taiwan's infamous Garrison Command (Jingbei zongbu) showed up at
his brother's house and interrogated him for 13 grueling hours about
his activities in the United States, which included a quite minimal
amount of association with critics of the Kuomintang regime. Chen was,
however, by no means a fanatic or an extremist, and there were many
Taiwanese critics of the Kuomintang in the United States who had a
higher profile than he did. Nonetheless, for some reason Chen
Wen-chen's case seemed to stick in the craw of some of his Kuomintang
tormenters. The Garrison Command later claimed to have escorted
Chen back to his brother's apartment, but he never did return there.
The next morning he was found dead, with a fresh one-hundred
New Taiwan Dollar bill stuffed into one of his shoes, reflecting an old
Chinese superstition that held that if executioners left the deceased with
some money, his remains would be properly handled and he would not
come back as a ghost to haunt them.
Nobody knows who the murderer of Chen Wen-chen was, but it
seems likely that it was someone in the Garrison Command. The case
remains unsolved today, and his murderers are still at large and living
outside the law. The U.S. government pursued active interest in the
case because it involved Kuomintang spying on Chen on American
soil. After some investigation the AIT (American Institute in Taiwan,
America's quasi-embassy in Taiwan after its recognition of the
People's Republic of China regime on the mainland) concluded that
out-of-control vigilante gangs, and in particular the Iron Blood Patriots,
were likely behind the murder. The group seems to have colluded with
sympathetic elements within the Garrison Command to kidnap and
murder Chen while on his way home to his brother's apartment. The
Taiwan Garrison Command did not like being implicated in the
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