The sinking of the ferry Taiping (
Yang Chang-cheng (
In 1949, about 2 million soldiers and civilians fled to Taiwan from China as it became clear that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) armies were losing the civil war to Chinese Communist forces.
Many of them took ferries from Shanghai to Keelung.
On its journey to Keelung Harbor on the eve of the Lunar New Year in 1949, the Taiping collided with the Chienyuan (
Yang said the tragedy high-lighted the fate and the mission shared by immigrants to the nation, as well as the Taiwanese people.
"We hope the story of the Taiping, like the stories of other immigrants to Taiwan, can be remembered, cherished and respected by all Taiwanese and become a shared memory among all ethnic communities," Yang said.
Showing a documentary about the incident and the life of the victims' families, Yang said the immigrants and local residents shared something in common -- they were all seeking freedom.
"When we grieve over the incident, the victim's freedom-pursuing spirits become the strength for us to continue seeking freedom and also become part of our history," Yang said.
"In this sense, they are also `Taiwanese' although they never made it to this shore," he added.