Thu, Feb 28, 2008 - Page 3 News List

DPP, KMT to remember victims of 228 Incident

BLOODY CRACKDOWNDPP supporters will march through Taipei starting at 2

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH STAFF WRITER

The presidential campaign teams of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will today hold activities to commemorate the thousands killed during the 228 Incident.

The 228 Incident refers to the KMT government's bloody crackdown on demonstrators and the local elite under dictator Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石) administration.

On the evening of Feb. 27, 1947, a woman named Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁), who had been selling smuggled cigarettes in Taipei, was beaten by an agent from the Monopoly Bureau.

Lin was left bloody and unconscious on the ground and an angry crowd gathered and turned on the agents, who fired their guns into the crowd indiscriminately in order to escape, killing a man named Chen Wen-hsi (陳文溪).

When monopoly agents were discovered pistol-whipping two children for a similar offense the following day, an angry crowd beat the agents to death. Nationwide anti-KMT protests and riots followed.

KMT troops from China were ordered in early March to quell the disturbances and as a result tens of thousands of Taiwanese were killed.

The massacre remained taboo for decades under Chiang's rule. Chiang died in 1975.

It was not until 1995 that then KMT president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) made the first official apology for the incident. The legislature later agreed on compensation and made Feb. 28 an official national holiday.

This year, the anniversary will be decidedly political as it comes during a presidential campaign between the DPP's Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

DPP supporters will march through the streets of Taipei today, starting at 2:28pm, to mark the name of the incident. They will then hold an evening rally at Zhongshan Soccer Stadium that is expected to draw a crowd of 10,000, the organizers said.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lan Shih-tsung (藍世聰) said that the party welcomes all party members and DPP government officials to participate based on each individual's free time and physical condition.

Other than Hsieh and his running mate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), no other politicians have been invited to the event, he said.

When asked whether President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) or Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) would attend the rally, Hsieh, who doubles as DPP chairman, told reporters at DPP headquarters yesterday that it was up to the organizers to decide, adding that the organizers should have invited all party members.

The Presidential Office said yesterday that Chen would be attending an event to be held at the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall.

Across town, Ma will attend a tribute concert for the victims, his office said, adding that some 1,000 people were expected to attend.

Ahead of the anniversary yesterday, Hsieh called for the public release of further information from the 228 Incident files and criticized Ma for obstructing budgets proposed to fund a memorial museum and take care of the victim's families.

Hsieh said many tragedies happened during the Martial Law era and the problems caused by transitional justice still persist today despite the nation's change of government.

"I would like to see more files opened and the truth of the matter divulged," he said.

"The purpose is not to apportion blame but to discover the truth, so the families of the victims know where their loved ones were buried and can come to terms with their tragic loss," Hsieh said while visiting the families of victims of the Martial Law era in Shilin (士林), Taipei.

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