Mon, Feb 26, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT pledges to care for 228 victims

'REAL PEACE' For the second year running, the party organized a memorial for the 228 Incident. Victims were grateful for the attention but said more should be done

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman ties up a prayer card at a memorial ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident organized by the Chinese Nationalist Party in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday promised to take responsibility for the 228 Incident and take care of victims of the violence and their family members during a memorial ceremony that the party held for a second time at the 228 Memorial Peace Park in Taipei.

The memorial ceremony marked the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident. It was one of a series of events that the KMT has arranged to work toward reconciliation with 228 victims and members of their families.

Although no longer serving as party chairman following his indictment on corruption charges, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who organized the party's inaugural memorial ceremony last year, was invited to the event.

He urged the party and the government to continue revealing more of the "truth" behind the incident and other unsolved cases from the White Terror era, including the murder of the family members of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) and the death of academic Chen Wen-cheng (陳文成).

"It's important to continue the investigation into these incidents until the whole truth is revealed. Then the public will find real peace and reconcile," Ma said.

Instead of ethnic conflict, Ma said government suppression was the main cause of the violence.

"The government, not the people, should be responsible for the 228 Incident," Ma said.

"Most of the government officials were Mainlanders, while civilians were Taiwanese, and so the idea that the [228 Incident] was an ethnic conflict is a misunderstanding," Ma said.

Ma said the most important thing was remembering the incident to prevent a similar "tragedy" from happening again.

Addressing the ceremony on behalf of some 100 victims and their family members, Taipei 228 Incident Association director Liao Chi-pin (廖繼斌) acknowledged Ma and the KMT's efforts to admit to the party's responsibility and to reconcile with the victims.

"We are no longer an ignored group, and we should also devote our efforts to promoting a harmonious ethnic relationship," he said.

Chang An-man (張安滿), however, urged the KMT to put greater effort into making amends with 228 victims and family members.

He demanded the party include a 228 family member among its candidates for the next legislative election so that the demands of the victims could be better addressed.

Acting KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) promised to take care of 228 victims and family members, while party Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the KMT would consider Chang's request.

Most top KMT officials were in attendance, but not Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

Yang Tu (楊渡), chairman of the KMT's Culture and Communications Committee, rejected the suggestion that Wang had been excluded from the event by displaying a letter of invitation dated Feb. 15 that showed the party had invited Wang and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to attend the event.

The 228 Incident refers to the KMT's bloody crackdown on demonstrators and local elites under Chiang Kai-shek's administration after a confrontation between officials and residents in Taipei on Feb. 27.

The incident culminated in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Taiwanese at the hands of KMT troops.

The KMT will hold two 228 memorial concerts today and tomorrow night in Taipei's Zhongshan Hall.

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