The 228 Incident and the White Terror came under searing examination in Washington on Thursday during a half-day seminar at the Brookings Institute.
At the seminar, independence activist Peng Ming-min (
The seminar, organized by former American Institute in Taiwan chairman Richard Bush, now with Brookings, and the pro-independence Formosa Association for Public Affairs, came as Taiwanese-Americans begin a week-long commemoration of the 1947 massacre, in which KMT troops killed an estimated 28,000 Taiwanese in a matter of weeks.
Calling the 228 Incident a "ghost that lives in the collective conscience of the people of Taiwan," Peng said: "Only the victim has the right to ask for forgiveness. The offender has no right to ask for forgiveness."
Afterwards he explained that he meant that only the victims of the 228 Incident and the White Terror, in which the KMT imposed repressive martial law for four decades, have the right to demand that the KMT ask for forgiveness. The KMT's requests for forgiveness are empty, he said.
"When you commit certain crimes, only the victims should say, `Oh, this should be forgiven.' The offender can beg their pardon, can beg their mercy, [but cannot decide when their acts are forgiven]," Peng said.
Peng dismissed Ma's annual visits to families of victims on the anniversary of the 228 Incident -- a practice Ma began when he was Taipei mayor -- as an inadequate gesture that had more to with politicking than actual regret.
Peng said Ma's "credibility is almost at zero."
"He is insincere in that he only wants to get votes," Peng added.
In other presentations, Randall Schriver, former deputy assistant secretary of state for China and Taiwan, said that Washington might have acted more sensitively toward President Chen Shui-bian's (
Drake University professor Lin Tsung-kuang (
The seminar began with a riveting video of Taiwan in the 1940s, the 228 Incident and its bloody consequences.
Punctuated by bodies of people killed by KMT troops floating in fetid waters and muddy fields, the video contrasted a relatively prosperous pre-KMT Taiwan under Japanese rule with the era of KMT murders, rapes, looting and persecution of the native Taiwanese.
In an interview, one victim -- a miner who also swept floors at a police station -- told of being hustled away, his hands pierced by wires used to clamp them together, and being thrown "in the ocean" where KMT troops shot at him and others. The bullets missed him and he clung to a log that eventually bore him ashore.
The seminar was the first in a week-long series of events that are intended to educate people in Washington about the 228 Incident. Some 200 Taiwanese-Americans will travel together from Philadelphia to Washington this weekend.
They will meet members of Congress on Monday, and stage a walk and run through the capitol on Feb. 28, culminating in a memorial service in the Rayburn House Office Building -- a congressional office building -- that afternoon.
Taiwanese-Americans in the Washington area will hold a commemorative service at a Washington suburban church today, featuring an address by Taiwan's de-facto ambassador to the US, David Lee (李大維).
One congressional source also told the Taipei Times that certain congressmen were considering introducing a pro-Taiwan bill on Feb. 28 as a symbolic gesture.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly