The government is seeking to identify potential victims of the 228 Incident who were previously unrecorded, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, adding that a new report on the brutal crackdown would be issued later this year.
Tsai made the remarks while receiving an overseas group of family members of victims.
In her address to the group, she said that victims’ families have long been concerned about the progress of transitional justice, adding that without their reminders, the government would not be able to honestly face the important event in the nation’s history and reflect on it, nor would there be any progress.
Since the beginning of Taiwan’s democratization, the government has made a series of efforts to implement transitional justice, including admitting its wrongdoing, issuing apologies to the victims of the Incident, launching investigations and offering compensation, Tsai said.
However, the process of discovering the truth and pursuing justice has no end, she said, adding that the government has the responsibility to contribute more.
In the past two years, the government has been more attentive than ever to the work of transitional justice, she said.
The 228 Incident was triggered by a clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947, leading to protests a day later that were violently suppressed.
The crackdown triggered a broader anti-government uprising that was put down by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) forces.
An estimated 18,000 to 28,000 people were killed during the crackdown, which lasted into early May that year, a 1992 probe commissioned by the Executive Yuan found.
From the legal side, the 2017 passage of the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) offers solid legal ground for the implementation of transitional justice, Tsai said.
From an organizational perspective, the Transitional Justice Promotion Committee last year began its work and the 228 Memorial Foundation would continue to unearth details about the Incident and identify potential victims who were previously unknown, she said.
Through the National Human Rights Museum that officially opened last year, the public would have more opportunities to better understand the implications of transitional justice, she added.
“We will never forget and we will not stop” seeking the truth, seeking those accountable and promoting history education, Tsai said.
She said that she hopes family members of the Incident’s victims would continue to provide suggestions and participate in relevant discussions to more thoroughly implement transitional justice.
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