Fri, Mar 29, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Books give insight on 228

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian, second right, gives books documenting the 228 Incident to Chen Chung-kuang at the Presidential Office yesterday.


Academia Historica yesterday publicized four new books based on official archives about the 228 Incident, which President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) believes will help Taiwan's citizens understand the truth about the tragedy.

"The experience of the 228 Incident -- no matter if it is the feeling of pain, sadness, hate or terror -- has become the joint memory and historic property of all people who live and grow up on the island," the president said at a press conference to promote the books.

"A profound knowledge and understanding of the 228 Incident is the starting point for all Taiwanese to look to the future," the president said.

Hundreds of relatives of the 228 victims attended the press conference to hear President Chen introduce the publications.

The books are a compilation of some 57,000 government files that the Presidential Office handed over to Academia Historica and the preparatory office of the bureau of national archives. Twelve volumes are to be published and yesterday's press conference was held to promote the first four.

Lee Shiao-feng (李筱峰), a leader of the Northern Taiwan Society (北社) -- a consultative group comprised of members of the cultural, academic, legal and medical elite from the northern part of the country -- said that victims of the 228 Incident will still be short of the truth with the new books, because they only display the authorities' thoughts and opinions.

"It is fortunate that Taiwan has witnessed the transfer of power, which led to the disclosure of these official documents," Lee said. "People can now understand how the authorities violated human rights and conducted such brutal acts.

"However, we should compare these books composed of historic documents with research done by civic groups," Lee said. "Only this way can we help the younger generation understand the truth."

Representing 228 victims' relatives, Chen Chung-kuang (陳重光), son of the famous Taiwanese painter Chen Cheng-po (陳澄波), said that publishing these books is just the beginning when it comes to finding the truth. Chen Chung-kuang also urged the government to release more classified files, especially those identifying the "injuring groups."

"It is ironic that we relatives of the 228 victims today hold a press conference at the President Office, where the portraits of two former president Chiangs are hung," Chen said. "We hope they will listen to our voices and conduct some introspection."

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