Amid tight security and waves of protests, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) attended the central memorial ceremony of the 228 Incident in Kaohsiung yesterday, pledging to seek ethnic reconciliation by finding the truth behind the incident.
Speaking in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) to address the ceremony held by the 228 Incident Memorial Foundation, Ma promised to listen to the voices of the 228 victims and their families with humility, unfreeze the budget for the 228 Memorial Foundation and continue to seek the truth for the sake of the families.
Several protesters stood up on their chairs in the seating area and unfurled protest banners that read “Formosa Independence” and chanted protest slogans while Ma was giving the speech. A group of protesters also shouted “Ma Ying-jeou, step down” outside the site.
Continuing his speech amid the loud protest, Ma said he understood the disapproval of some families of 228 victims and said he had been consistent with efforts to reveal the truth about the incident and see it through the eyes of the victims’ families.
“No apologies or compensation can bring back the lives of the victims ... The government should be compassionate because our power comes from the people, and we must listen to the people’s voices with humility,” Ma said at the ceremony held at the Kaohsiung Museum of History.
Ma pledged to defend democracy in Taiwan and promised to carry out his election campaign promise of establishing a national 228 Memorial Museum and supporting the operation of the 228 Memorial Foundation despite the legislature’s move to cancel its NT$300 million (US$8.6 million) budget this year. Ma said he would establish a regulation to push for the establishment of the museum and allocate an annual budget of NT$300 million to continue funding the foundation.
The 228 Incident refers to a massacre that began on Feb. 27, 1947, when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops suppressed an anti-government uprising, leaving tens of thousands dead, missing or imprisoned. The event was a precursor to the White Terror era in Taiwan.
Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also attended the ceremony, but did not interact with Ma.
Chen Chin-huang (陳錦煌), the head of the foundation, later apologized for failing to prevent disturbances during the ceremony.
“We had planned to hold the ceremony in a peaceful and introspective atmosphere,” he said. “The protest disturbed the activity and was not respectful to the 228 victims.”
Ma encountered another smaller protest later in the afternoon while attending another 228 Incident memorial ceremony hosted by the Taipei City Government at the Taipei 228 Memorial Park. He ignored the protesting voices throughout the whole event.
“A priest told me that although I do not carry the original sin for the incident, I am responsible for finding out the truth ... I will focus all my efforts to look into the truth and give the justice that the families deserve,” Ma said.
The president later joined Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and several members of victims’ families to untie a large white knot above the stage in a gesture of reconciliation among different groups. The guests, however, were unable to untie the knot, creating an awkward moment at the end of the ceremony.
Citigroup Inc plans to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia, and the region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The bank would instead operate its consumer-banking franchise in both regions from four wealth centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London, it said yesterday in a statement. The move is part of an ongoing review of the company’s strategy by chief executive officer Jane Fraser, who took over last month. “This positions us to capture the strong growth and attractive returns the wealth-management business offers through these important hubs,” Fraser said. Citigroup is to exit its consumer
CONFIDENTIAL: The trip had not been made public until just before ex-senator Chris Dodd, and ex-state department officials Richard Armitage and James Steinberg arrived The government yesterday welcomed an “unofficial” delegation sent by US President Joe Biden, while another delegation led by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry was headed to Shanghai. Biden’s first delegation to Taiwan is made up of former US senator Chris Dodd, and former US deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg. They are to stay in Taiwan until tomorrow. Their arrival, on a chartered flight, had been kept confidential until media reported the visit yesterday morning, after which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a short notice that they were expected to arrive at 2:40pm. The flight landed at
MORE TRUSTWORTHY? While officials investigate whether the shelf life of AstraZeneca vaccines can be extended, the Moderna jab might boost inoculations Shipments of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are due to arrive in Taiwan next month, while another batch of AstraZeneca vaccines allotted to Taiwan under the COVAX program is due to arrive by June, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the Moderna vaccines might arrive at the end of this month or next month. The center in February said that Moderna had agreed to supply about 5 million doses to Taiwan, although at the time the center estimated that they would arrive in the middle of this year. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥),
‘IDEAL FIT’: A report on Sunday said that the Canadian government threatened to pull its support and funding from the HFX if the award was given to the president The government would respect the decision of the organizer of the John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service on whether it plans to award a prize to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. The statement was issued after US Web site Politico reported a day earlier that the Canadian government had warned the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX) not to give the award to Tsai for fear of provoking Beijing. “The ministry believes that if the Halifax International Security Forum confers the prize upon President Tsai, it would be an affirmation and honor for both