Tue, Mar 01, 2011 - Page 1 News List

National 228 museum opens in Taipei

NEVER FORGET:Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah said the ministry would keep reminding government offices to fly the national flag at half-mast on Feb. 28

By Ko Shu-ling, Rich Chang and Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporters

People march in Taipei yesterday to urge the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to admit responsibility for the 228 Incident.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The National 228 Memorial Museum opened to the public yesterday to mark the 64th anniversary of the 228 Incident, with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledging to keep investigating the massacre in which thousands of Taiwanese were killed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops beginning on Feb. 28, 1947.

Ma said it was appropriate for his government to address the matter, as “the government played the leading role in the 228 Incident.”

“It is the right thing to do,” he said as he left the museum.

Located on Nanhai Road in Taipei, the museum is housed in a building that was constructed in 1931 during the Japanese colonial era. It has served as a school dormitory, Taiwan Provincial Assembly offices and the American Institute in Taiwan cultural center.

Amid somber ceremonies nationwide, about 1,000 protesters, led by the Taiwan 228 Care Association and the Taiwan National Alliance, marched in Taipei to call on the KMT to take responsibility for the 228 Incident.

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), Reverend William Luo (羅榮光) of the Presbyterian Church and World United Formosans for Independence chairman Ng Chiau-tong (黃昭堂) led the rally.

The protesters, who began their march at 2:28pm at Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 3, passed by KMT headquarters, where they chanted slogans urging the party to accept responsibility.

Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), an associate researcher at the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica, told the rally in front of the KMT building that while the regimes of former presidents Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) were no more, the KMT had not changed its nature and ideology and therefore should shoulder full responsibility for the incident.

“We can’t say ‘just determine who the victims were.’ Those responsible for the incident must also be revealed,” Chen said.

“Look for the perpetrators, find the truth,” some protesters chanted.

The marchers then headed for Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, where a memorial concert was held.

Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲), chairman of the 228 Care Association and a historian specializing in modern Taiwanese history, said that last year, 128 families of 228 Incident victims filed a lawsuit listing demands for the KMT to publicly apologize for the massacre, publicize information relevant to the 228 Incident held in the party’s archives and pay compensation of NT$200 million (US$67.2 million) from party assets to help with the upkeep of the 228 Memorial Hall in Taipei.

However, the Taipei District Court ruled the massacre was ordered by the government of the day and was not related to the KMT per se, he said, adding that the plaintiffs have appealed to the Taiwan High Court.

Although compensation has been paid to many of the victims’ families, the money came from taxpayers, not KMT coffers, he said.

The legislature in June 2009 approved an amendment to the Act for Handling and Compensation for the 228 Incident (二 二 八事件處理及補償條例) that would require the Executive Yuan to establish a national memorial hall to commemorate the 228 Incident.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) accused Ma of falsifying history by saying there were no real perpetrators in the incident.

At the national memorial service at Taipei’s 228 Peace Park in the afternoon, Ma bowed in apology for the massacre.

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