Sun, Aug 03, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Clearing 228 victims' names a milestone: Chen

REMEBERANCE The president awarded certificates exonerating those killed by the KMT in a 1947 uprising against its brutal and venal rule


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that clearing the names of the victims of the 228 Incident is a milestone for the nation as its democracy and human rights mature.

The president made the remarks when he presented rehabilitation certificates to each of the victims or the representatives of the victims of the 228 Incident in a ceremony held at the Presidential Office. The certificates were co-signed by Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

"The 228 Incident was Taiwan's biggest historical wound since World War II, " the president said. "The people of Taiwan wanted social justice and democratic reforms, but were relentlessly suppressed by the KMT government, resulting in heavy casualties among the Taiwanese elite and ordinary civilians."

The KMT government, trying to cover its actions, labeled the incident a "mutiny," and the victims "mobsters," he added.

The president said that a rehabilitation certificate will not bring back past lives, but he was convinced that the incident was brought into the public consciousness only after the efforts of so many democratic forerunners.

After "scores of years of declassifying files and the investigation of oral historians, " the president said the 228 Incident is no longer just a "violent disturbance," or described as "Communist China orchestrating mobsters," but was "a protest against social injustice, a demand for democracy, and the advocacy of Taiwanese people ruling Taiwan," which he said has become the "228 spirit" and an "asset of Taiwan's historical culture."

He stressed that to "right the wrongs, pursue historical truth and social justice is the root of a nation based on human rights, and the rehabilitation of names of the 228 Incident is the upholding of human rights, and a milestone for Taiwan."

He extended his apologies again to the victims and their relatives for their sufferings over the years, hoping that every one in Taiwan would "learn from the incident, and work toward making Taiwan a just, peaceful country with dignity."

Speaking at the same occasion, Vice President Lu said that there should not be only concerts and flowers in memory of the incident each year, but that all generations should "learn the historical truth."

The 228 Memorial Foundation has agreed to do more to let the nation learn about the incident, she said.

The 228 Incident is so called after a rebellion against the KMT's venal and brutal rule which broke out on Feb. 27, 1947.

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