Family members of 228 Incident victims and former political prisoners yesterday performed a religious ritual at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall to comfort the spirits of their loved ones.
Over thirty family members of 228 Incident victims and former political prisoners gathered at the 228 Peace Park in Taipei yesterday and then marched to the memorial hall where the ritual was performed.
The 228 Incident refers to a 1947 uprising violently crushed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, leaving tens of thousands of people dead or missing.
PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
The National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, formerly known as the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, was constructed 27 years ago to commemorate dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), who was cited by a report issued by the 228 Memorial Foundation as the main perpetrator behind the 1947 massacre.
"Is it just when the perpetrator of the massacre sits in a temple and is worshipped by all?" a banner carried by the family members read.
A giant bronze statue of Chiang still remains in the lobby of the memorial hall following the name change last Saturday.
"This place is too big to be the temple of a murderer," said Tien Meng-shu (田孟淑), a former democracy activist.
Paper plaques showing the names of 228 victims were laid on the square in front of the memorial hall for the ritual.
According to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男), there were a total of 1,200 names.
"May the heroic spirits of the 228 victims be in peace ... may there be justice for them," Tien said in a prayer for Christian families at the beginning of the ritual.
The prayer was followed by a Taoist ritual.
Three Taoist priests performed a ritual to bring the spirits of the 228 victims into peace, and granted them residency in the memorial hall.
"All evil spirits shall leave right now, and the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall shall be in the hands of the 228 Incident victims from now on," the priests chanted at the end of the ritual.
The ritual was performed mainly in peace, despite a few instances where opponents to the hall's name change shouted verbal insults at the families.
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