Fri, Mar 01, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Lin commemorates family's 228 tragedy

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former DPP Chairman Lin I-hsiung, center, attends a memorial ceremony held in a Taipei church yesterday to remember his mother and twin daughters. All three were murdered on Feb. 28, 1980.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) never misses the opportunity to pay a visit to his former home every Feb. 28.

The site, where the Yi-Kwang Presbyterian Church now stands, is where his six-year-old twin daughters and 60-year-old mother were murdered on Feb. 28, 1980.

Lin yesterday returned to the site on Hsin-yi Road with friends and church leaders who had gathered with him to commemorate the day.

"It has been 22 years. I want to express my gratitude for those who have showed concern for us. Without the support from [these friends] we probably could not have continued on this path," Lin said.

Many of those attending the commemoration ceremony cried during Lin's speech.

To return his friends' love, Lin said, he had constantly encouraged his wife and his surviving daughter to lead meaningful and useful lives.

"I have tried very hard to carry on," he said. "To be one's own master and to control one's own destiny are the eternal desires of human beings, and democracy is the most significant system to help us realize this desire."

Under the sponsorship of the Chilin Foundation (慈林基金會), which Lin chairs, a museum to chronicle Taiwan's democracy movements over the past century was also inaugurated yesterday in Ilan County.

The museum exhibits documents, photos, newspapers, pamphlets, posters and T-shirts related to democracy movements.

Lin said the museum's aim is to generate determination among Taiwanese to consolidate the development of democracy.

Taiwan's history of democratic development has shown that the promotion of democracy is constantly challenged by relentless obstacles, according to Lin, and each conflict and effort to intimidate puts the existence of democracy in peril.

"Only by adhering firmly to democratic beliefs and resolving internal discord through democratic measures can crises be defused," he said.

Lin knows the cost of championing democracy all too well.

His daughters Liang-chun (亮均) and Ting-chun (亭均) and his mother Lin Yu Ah-mei (林游阿妹) were killed by a man, dressed in black, who broke into Lin's home while both Lin and his wife were away.

Lin was in jail -- he had been arrested on Dec. 13, 1979, for participating in a human-rights rally in Kaohsiung three days earlier. His wife, Fang Su-min (方素敏), was attending the public hearing into what was by then already called the Kaohsiung Incident (美麗島事件).

Lin's eldest daughter, Huan-chun (奐均), then 9 years old, was severely injured in the attack but survived.

The murderer has never been apprehended. However, Lin and many Taiwanese believe that the killings were politically motivated.

The murders -- on the anniversary of the 228 Incident (二二八事件), in which Taiwanese rebelling against KMT rule in 1947 were massacred -- rocked the nation.

The twins and their grandmother were not buried until Lin was released from jail in 1985.

After the murders, Fang and Huan-chun moved to the US to start a new life. Fang returned to Taiwan and ran in the 1983 Legislative Yuan elections in memory of the twins and Lin's mother.

"I don't know if [the murderer] is still alive now," Fang once said.

"But I don't hate him, because love is our best weapon."

Lin is revered by many Tai-wanese for transforming his personal sorrow into strength to struggle for the country's democracy.

The DPP came into power under his leadership, ending the KMT's five-decade-long rule after Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) won the presidential election in 2000.

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