Taiwan President to Propose End to Island's Martial Law;Action Would Mean the Lifting of Restrictions After 37 Years

By Daniel Southerland
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, October 8, 1986; 12:00 AM

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Oct. 7 -- Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo said today that his government will soon propose lifting emergency decrees, commonly referred to as martial law, imposed by his ruling Nationalist Party on this island nearly four decades ago.

Chiang, 76, the eldest son of the late president Chiang Kai-shek, said that terminating the decrees would mean an end to trials of civilians in military courts, and the removal of unspecified restrictions on personal freedoms.

Chiang also said that penalties for some offenses would be made "comparatively more lenient."

Chiang said that a longstanding desire to "democratize" as well as improve economic conditions on Taiwan had led to the decision to end the decrees.

The president spoke in an hour-long interview held in a sparely decorated reception room with Katharine Graham, chairman of the board of The Washington Post Co., and two editors from Newsweek and The Washington Post.

Despite his remarks on democratization, Chiang said that a newly formed opposition political party on Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party, had failed to meet requirements set by the ruling Nationalists.

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© 1986 The Washington Post Company