Wed, Feb 21, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Chen backs 228 memorial in Hualien

PARK PLEDGE The president told the families of victims of the 228 Incident in Hualien County that he would do what he could to renew a memorial in a city park

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday visited families of victims of the 228 Incident in Hualien County, promising to establish a new memorial in the city to commemorate the dead.

With 228 Memorial Day on Feb. 28 approaching, Chen flew to Hualien, where he met representatives of the Association for Care of Families of the 228 Incident to learn more about the circumstances of the family of those killed or injured during the military crackdown that killed tens of thousands of people.

Chen talked with the family members and asked them about their daily lives, schools and jobs, said Lin Lien-ming (林連明), chairman of the association.

During their conversations with Chen, members of the association told the president that a monument to the 228 Incident erected in Hualien's Beibin Park (北濱公園) needed to be moved because the Harbor Bureau of the Hualien County Government was planning to widen a road beside the park.

They told Chen that the monument should stay where it is and that the park could be transformed into a new memorial park for the 228 Incident.

Lin said Chen agreed to the suggestions and said that he would instruct Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) to contact the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Hualien Harbor Bureau about designing a new monument and selecting a suitable location for it at the park.

After the meeting Chen gave red envelopes to people waiting outside the association's office.

The 228 Incident, which was triggered on Feb. 27, 1947, was the result of growing conflict between Taiwanese and the venal Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration under the executive authority of Chen Yi (陳儀).

A clash between a woman selling black market goods and officials led to the shooting of a bystander, after which crowds descended upon government offices demanding justice.

The situation deteriorated after the crowds were fired upon, leading to the spread of panic and violence on the streets of Taipei and, over the following days, other cities and rural areas.

Military forces were eventually called in from China, escalating the incident into a nationwide killing and suppression of Taiwanese who objected to the manner of KMT rule, especially local politicians, activists and intellectuals. Estimates of the dead over the years have ranged from only a few thousand to 100,000, though most authoritative figures range from 20,000 to 30,000.

Recent scholastic works have redirected blame for the violence directly at Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

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