The National 228 Memorial Museum, the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum and the Preparatory Office of the National Human Rights Museum yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to share historical data on the 228 Incident and the ensuing White Terror era in the hope of promoting transitional justice.
“People used to say: ‘Future generations will form their own judgements of history,’ but we are the ‘future generations,’” Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said at the signing ceremony in Taipei.
The 228 Incident was just the beginning of 40 years of White Terror, which saw many Taiwanese suffer and others sacrifice their lives, Cheng said, adding that this pain is shared by all Taiwanese regardless of age, ethnicity or political affiliation.
Photo: Hu Shuan-hsiang, Taipei Times
Cheng said that the planned National Human Rights Museum was positioned by the former KMT administration to govern the Green Island Human Rights Park and the Jingmei Human Rights Park to commemorate political prisoners who had served jail terms there.
Since she took office, the facility has been repurposed as a national museum about human rights, whose responsibilities include collecting historical data on the nation’s post-war authoritarian era, supporting human rights groups and promoting education about human rights, Cheng said.
The Ministry of Culture has submitted a draft national human rights museum organization act to the Executive Yuan for approval, she said.
The draft is to be reviewed by the legislature and, if passed, it would see the establishment of the museum, she said, adding that the ministry expects the museum to be opened on Dec. 10.
Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), chairman of the 228 Memorial Foundation, said that aside from uncovering the truth, a hope among bereaved families is the attribution of responsibility, which he said is the only way to teach people the lessons of history.
The martial law enforced in 1949 not only hampered the nation’s democratic movement, but saw many people persecuted, said Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻), who signed the MOU on behalf of the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum.
Respect for democratic values and human rights would not have been possible without the work of the nation’s democracy pioneers, Chen said.
In response to media questions on whether statues of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) should be removed, Cheng said that the decision is not within the ministry’s purview.
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