Cold weather and steady rain did not deter hundreds of people from more than 60 civic groups who marched in downtown Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the 228 Incident.
The groups, which included the 228 Memorial Foundation, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, gave young leaders the spotlight by letting them lead the march.
“Let us be proud of Taiwan and our democracy,” marchers declared as they urged people not to forget the victims of atrocities and political oppression during the White Terror era.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The 228 Incident was a crackdown launched by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against civilian demonstrations following the indiscriminate killing of a bystander in an angry crowd in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947; it is considered the start of the White Terror era.
During the march, teams of people held up white sheets, and walked in somber silence as though in a funeral procession, while audio recordings of the names of those killed during the massacre were played.
“The march started at the site of conflict that sparked the 228 Incident, the Tianma Tea House (天馬茶房), so that we could go back in time and uncover history and the truth of what took place, and transitional justice can be implemented,” Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation executive Cheng Ching-hua (鄭清華) said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Pastor Lin Wei-lien (林偉聯), of the Presbyterian Church’s church and society committee, said that the 228 Massacre left Taiwanese society in pain.
“We hold the march and related activities each year so that people do not forget, and to enable the different sectors of society to have more rational and open dialogues about this part of our history,” he said.
“This history must not be lost. We shall pass it onto the next generation, to become the common history and legacy of Taiwanese people,” he said.
“It is not just for the older generation — the younger generation must continue to commemorate the 228 Incident,” he added.
The young people picked to lead the march were all university students, including Chu Chen (朱震), Yu Teng-chieh (游騰傑), Hsu Kuang-tse (許冠澤), Liao Chung-lun (廖崇倫) and Cheng Shau-yun (鄭韶昀), who in 2015 organized nationwide protests over the then-KMT government’s plan to make high-school curriculum guidelines and textbooks more “China-centric.”
At the end of the march a prayer service was held and flowers were laid to commemorate the victims.
Participants gathered in front of the Executive Yuan, and Chu, representing the young people, read a statement.
“We believe that the phrase: ‘We are Taiwanese, not Chinese’ encapsulates the greatest common factor shared among people of our generation. We do not, and will never, consider Taiwan a part of China,” the statement said.
“We cannot remain silent and we cannot withhold our actions, because eventually we have to face the threat from China. What we can do is to hold each other by the hand. In this darkness, I feel as scared as you, but I will not let go of you,” it said.
“We will walk forward step by step, believing that we will soon see the light. Let us defend the values of democracy, let us be proud of Taiwan and our democracy,” the statement said.
“We hope that one day when we talk about the 228 Incident, we will no longer constrain ourselves to the peace declaration, history of oppression, or non-violent movements of intellectual elites. We may also recognize the bloody history of armed resistances of ordinary people,” it said.
“Let transitional justice enlighten the young generation. By inspecting the fabric of small things, let us feel the generosity and mercifulness of the subtropical island, and feel the scents of history, rivers and the ocean,” it said.
“From countless struggles of our ancestors, we understand the tradition of recalcitrance, and the character of bravery and perseverance embedded in Taiwanese people. Finally, in the battles of the real world, we will continue to be fearless,” it said.
TAKES THE CAKE: Chinese diplomats tried to take photographs of people attending a National Day event in Suva, before reportedly assaulting a Taiwanese diplomat The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday condemned the Chinese embassy in Fiji over a fracas at its Double Ten National Day event at a Suva hotel, while a lawmaker demanded that the ministry file a lawsuit against Chinese embassy personnel for injuring a Taiwanese diplomat at the event. The Grubsheet news blog on Sunday and New Zealand-based Asia-Pacific Report Web site yesterday reported that two members of the Chinese embassy in Suva tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel on Oct. 8 to take photographs of
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
TIT FOR TAT? Messages sent through channels have urged Washington to drop its prosecutions of Chinese researchers or see Americans put at risk Chinese officials warned their US counterparts as early as the summer that they might detain Americans in China if the US does not stop prosecuting Chinese academics linked to the Chinese military, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter. China sent repeated warnings through multiple channels, including the US embassy in Beijing, the report said. The message has been blunt: The US should drop prosecutions of the Chinese academics in US courts, or Americans in China might find themselves in violation of Chinese law, the newspaper cited sources as saying. The US has charged several
Twenty EMU900 train cars manufactured by Hyundai Rotem Co are to be delivered to the Port of Hualien on Saturday, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said on Saturday as it unveiled the interior design of the new cars. The carriages are part of a large procurement project that the TRA began in 2018 to upgrade its train service quality, with the agency allocating NT$25.3 billion (US$873.05 million at the current exchange rate) to purchase 520 of the commuter cars from the South Korean company. Each EMU900 train consists of 10 cars, and they would help increase transport capacity by about 40