Family members of 228 Incident victims yesterday issued a joint statement stating their refusal to accept remarks made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
The group was referring to remarks made by Ma when he received some family members of 228 victims and said that his party had yet to properly face up to the bloody event.
"Until the party sincerely apologizes for the 228 event and uncovers the truth behind the historic tragedy, we refuse to accept this kind of acting and rhetoric that attempts to fool us," the group's statement said.
Ma also promised the victims that the KMT will hold a memorial on Feb. 28 next year for the deceased, saying that this meeting indicated a significant step in reconciliation between the bereaved families and the KMT.
Led by the former president of the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum, Liao Teh-cheng (廖德政), 34 victims and relatives of victims of the 228 Incident from around the nation went to KMT headquarters to visit Ma and look at historical materials regarding the massacre in the party's archives, situated on the seventh floor of the building.
Looking at three books taken out by the KMT archivist, the former chief of the Taipei City 228 Incident Association, Lee Wen-ching (李文卿), immediately criticized the KMT for not daring to face the truth and only showing materials that were favorable to the KMT.
"The historical truth can't be hidden. I hope the KMT can bravely face it," Lee said. "The truth of the tragedy is still buried, and only by restoring the truth can the different ethnic groups in Taiwanese society gain real forgiveness."
Tainan 228 Incident Association chief Shen Chen-yuan (沈澄淵) then urged the KMT to explain why authorities only mentioned 2,216 victims, when KMT scholars had found previously that there were approximately 30,000 victims of the tragedy.
During his meeting with a group of victims and bereaved from the 228 Incident, Ma, who spoke in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), pointed out that he considered the group's visit to the KMT a significant symbol of reconciliation, saying that the KMT's fault was to "acknowledge the mistake too late," as it took them nearly 40 years to face up to the tragedy.
"If the KMT had admitted their mistake much earlier, there wouldn't have been so many problems," Ma said. "But I still think it is not easy for the KMT to face the errors it made. With this regard, I would like to appreciate former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) efforts."
Ma also said that he was grateful for Lee Teng-hui's support of the establishment of the 228 Museum during his presidential term, and he also appreciated President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) efforts to build the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum when Chen was Taipei mayor.
"The 228 Incident was not a conflict between different ethnic groups, but a reflection of the fact that misgovernment made the people rebel," Ma said. "I think honesty is the best policy when facing historical trauma."
Ma also said that he would not deny the fact that the KMT was corrupt when it retreated to Taiwan, but as for governments today, it is a good lesson which to learn from.
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