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Fri, Jan 12, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Minister apologizes to April 6 Incident victims

STAFF WRITER

Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) issued an official apology yesterday to victims and their families of the "1949 April 6 Incident (四六事件)," local media reported yesterday.

In his apology to the victims of the incident, Tzeng also said that all Taiwanese people should learn from this case to prevent a similar one from happening again.

"`White terror' [political persecution] must be banned from Taiwan's school campuses forever," Tzeng said. "The incident should be taken as an important lesson for human rights."

Meanwhile, Tzeng said that the Ministry of Education is now in discussions with National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University to award the victims with an honorary degree as a form of compensation.

The incident began when police arrested 21 dissident students at National Taiwan University and seven at Taiwan Normal University on April 6, 1949.

The arrests triggered a clash between police and students, leading to the largest student movement before the "Martial Law Era" (戒嚴時期). Several hundred were arrested and some were even executed. The incident also marked the beginning of the so-called "White Terror" (白色恐怖) period as the KMT government later declared martial law on May 20 of that year.

Both National Taiwan University President Chen Wei-jao (陳維昭) and Taiwan Normal University President Chien Maw-fa (簡茂發) said yesterday that the incident will be officially listed in their school histories.

Chang Yi-huai (張以淮), 72, a victim of the incident, yesterday said that he appreciated the government's goodwill, though the apology was 52 years late.

Chang, an National Taiwan University graduate, was sent to prison for five years because of his "incorrect ideology." According to Chang, his friend was also sent to prison because he loved to read Mark Twain's novels. "The police insisted that Mark Twain was Karl Marx's brother," Chang said.

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