Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) yesterday said he planned to propose that the government cancel 228 Memorial Day as a holiday — a proposal that immediately met with criticism from the opposition and family members of the 228 Massacre victims.
Feb. 28 was designated as a national holiday under former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in 1996 in remembrance of the 228 Incident in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed following the crackdown by the KMT on demonstrators and local elites after a confrontation between officials and Taipei residents on Feb. 27, 1947.
Wu told reporters yesterday that under his proposal, Feb. 28 would remain a national memorial day, but people would not be granted a day off.
Wu said, however, that the public could deliberate on the issue and that he was not against the idea of keeping Feb. 28 as a holiday.
“The point of the proposal is that there should be a law governing the nation’s memorial days and traditional holidays instead of leaving the power to decide what day constitutes a holiday entirely to a government agency [the Central Personnel Administration],” he said.
Wu also suggested that the government abolish the remembrance day status of the March 14 Anti-Aggression Day, the July 15 Lifting of Martial Law Memorial Day and the Oct. 24 Taiwan UN Day.
Anti-Aggression Day was designated as a holiday by the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration in 2006 in response to China’s passage of its “Anti-Secession” Law in 2005. The other two remembrance days were designated in 2007, also during the DPP government’s term. People are granted days off on these three remembrance days.
Wu also proposed turning Children’s Day into “Parents and Children’s Day” and granting people holidays on that day in addition to Dec. 25 — Constitution Day.
Wu, dubbed by local media as a member of “Ma’s corps,” dismissed media speculation that he had spoken with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) before coming up with his proposal.
The KMT has drawn public criticism since the KMT caucus in the last legislative session proposed slashing the budget of the National 228 Memorial Museum and the 228 Memorial Foundation.
At a separate setting yesterday, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the KMT legislators were “narrow-minded” for proposing to cancel the 228 national holiday.
The 228 Incident is one of the most important historical events that ever happened in Taiwan and it is worth remembering, he said.
When asked for comment, Chang An-man (張安滿) — whose grandfather Chang Chi-lang (張七郎), father Chang Tsung-jen (張宗仁) and uncle Chang Kuo-jen (張果仁) all died in the aftermath of the 228 Incident — told the Taipei Times yesterday: “If it’s the entire KMT that wants the change, I’d think that the KMT has lied about their love for Taiwan. And if it’s Wu Yu-sheng’s own personal idea, then the KMT should do something about it.”
“I don’t care if people get the 228 Memorial Day off, but government policy should not change as the governing party changes,” he said.
Juan Mei-shu (阮美姝), daughter of 228 victim Juan Chao-jih (阮朝日), declined to comment.
“I have no response — I’m too disappointed to say anything,” she said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LOA IOK-SIN AND RICH CHANG
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