To commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the 228 Incident on Friday, dozens of civic groups yesterday marched through the streets of Taipei, passing landmarks associated with the Incident as participants read out the names of victims.
The procession passed in front of the Executive Yuan, which is housed in what was the Taiwan Governor’s Office during the Japanese colonial era, as well as the Tianma Tea House (天馬茶房), outside of which a female cigarette vendor was beaten by a Tobacco Monopoly Bureau officer, setting off events that led to the massacre.
The 228 Incident refers to an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, and was violently suppressed by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government starting the next day. Estimates of the number of deaths vary between 10,000 and 30,000 or more. It marked the beginning of the White Terror era.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Sitting in a wheelchair, Lee Jung-chang (李榮章) yesterday said that his father, lawyer Lee Jui-han (李瑞漢), was last seen 73 years ago when he was dragged away by military police and that to this day, the truth has not been revealed and his father’s body has not been found.
Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation executive Cheng Ching-hua (鄭清華) compared the nation’s post-World War II history to documenting a healing process that began after the trauma from the Incident.
However, the Taiwanese public has not given the trauma — which has affected not only victims of the Incident, but many others — enough attention, he said.
Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation head Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸) said that 73 years after the massacre, many questions remain unanswered.
The 228 Memorial Foundation said that turnout for a central commemoration ceremony on Friday at Taipei’s 228 Memorial Park (二二八紀念公園) is expected to be lower than in previous years due to fears over COVID-19, adding that it hopes to limit participants to about 160 to prevent the possible spread of the disease.
Masks, disinfectant alcohol and forehead thermometers would be available at the event, while the relatives of victims would also wear masks, foundation CEO Yang Chen-long (楊振隆) said.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) are scheduled to make an appearance, he added.
Also on Friday, Foundation chairman Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元) is to publish a 600,000-word report titled “A Report on the Truth About the 228 Incident and Transitional Justice,” while the Gongsheng Music Festival is to be held on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei.
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