Today is the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident, a political and social watershed that still has the potential to split the nation.
For more than a decade the government has attempted to heal the wounds from the violence and persecution of that era, but despite former president Lee Teng-hui's (
This year, the biggest change has been the government's decision to name dictator Chiang Kai-shek (
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
It is instructive that so many voices within the KMT remain unwilling to face up to the historical record and concede the criminality of past deeds. Ma's attempts to give the KMT a friendlier face will continue to be foiled as long as extremists and apologists within its ranks defend indefensible conduct by their party heroes.
But the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government deserves criticism, too. Its piecemeal approach to dealing with the issue leaves the impression that it is insincere and irresolute. For example, some of those persecuted still have the label "hooligan" on their household registration certificates, a situation that the Ministry of the Interior ordered to be changed only this year, displaying an astounding lack of tact and diligence on the part of officials.
In another example, regulations authorizing compensation for victims imply that these payments are goodwill handouts instead of compensation for past wrongs at the hands of the government.
The 228 Incident has come to crystallize the beginning of a string of tragedies and abuses that began almost immediately after KMT troops arrived in Taiwan at the end of World War II. These abuses, including the security census and the White Terror that followed the 228 Incident, must never be forgotten if this nation is to arrive at a just reading of the past.
An indispensable part of this process is the release of all information from official investigations -- despite the reluctance of powerful bureaucrats with pan-blue-camp ties and others who wish to avoid inflaming bad memories -- to let the facts be known.
This is an important task, and one which the DPP has inexplicably failed to accomplish. President Chen Shui-bian (
Victims of the 228 Incident and the White Terror included Taiwanese and Mainlanders. The abusers were a clique of autocrats led by the Chiang family and a number of civilians who capitalized on their superior status. The attitude of KMT hardliners over the decades has resulted in all Mainlanders being branded as complicit in the injustice.
It's about time this perception ended. But for this to happen, those with personal responsibility for massacres and persecution must no longer be depicted as national heroes by the KMT.
True forgiveness is only possible with justice and understanding, and understanding must be built on facts and the courage to face up to them -- and the consequences of their release.
Since COVID-19 broke out in Taiwan, there has been a fair amount of news regarding discrimination and “witch hunts” against medical personnel, people under self-quarantine and other targets, such as the students of a school where an infection was discovered. Quarantine breakers are almost certainly on the loose and it is only natural for people to be vigilant. One in Chiayi was found by accident at a traffic stop because his helmet was not fastened. However, those who follow the rules by quarantining themselves should be encouraged to keep up the good work in a difficult situation, instead of being
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) has said that there is a huge difference between Chinese military aircraft circling Taiwan along the edges of its airspace and invading Taiwan’s airspace. He also said that whether it is US or Chinese aircraft flying along or encircling Taiwan’s airspace, there is no legal basis to say that such actions imply a clear provocation of Taiwan, and asked the Ministry of National Defense not to mislead the public. People who hear this might think that it is not a very Taiwanese thing to say. US military activity in the vicinity of Taiwan
As the nation welcomes home Taiwanese who had been stranded in China’s Hubei Province — arguably one of the most dangerous places on Earth since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in its capital, Wuhan, late last year — problems surrounding the “quasi-charter flights” that brought them back have been largely overlooked. The media used the term to describe the two flights dispatched by Taiwan’s state-run China Airlines because they do not count as charter flights. Taiwanese wanting to board those flights had to travel — most likely by train — more than 1,000km from Hubei to Shanghai Pudong International Airport
As the COVID-19 pandemic spins out of control, many parts of the world are experiencing shortages of medical masks and other protective equipment. I am studying in Washington state, which at the time of writing is the US state that has suffered the largest number of deaths from the novel coronavirus. The week before last, UW Medicine — an organization that includes the University of Washington School of Medicine and associated medical centers and clinics — sent its volunteers an e-mail asking the public to make masks and donate them to hospitals. Attached to the message was a mask donation