Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 2 News List

228 Incident: Ma promises 228 apology, new historical perspective

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promised to apologize to families of 228 Incident victims and frame the massacre as a lesson for future generations if elected president.

To work toward reconciliation with 228 survivors and family members of those who were killed, Ma yesterday presented flowers to them at the 228 Incident monument in 228 Memorial Park, Chiayi County.

He pledged to compile autobiographies of the victims, establish a national 228 memorial park and continue research into the crackdown if elected.

BLOCKED BUDGET

In response to pan-green camp criticism over the KMT's obstruction of the budget for the Statute for the Handling of and Compensation for the 228 Incident (二二八事件處理及補償條例) in the legislature, Ma blamed the Cabinet for listing the budget under the Ministry of Education instead of the Ministry of the Interior.

Declining to respond to follow-up questions, Ma said the pan-green camp should not politicize the issue.

Ma acknowledged the KMT's "political" responsibility for the 228 Incident, but added that the violent crackdown should be remembered today with tolerance and compassion.

NEW ERA

Ma said that more people look on the events of that day in 1947 with tolerance and forgiveness. The commemoration of the incident should enter a new era and the public should work together to ensure that future generations have a profound understanding of the 228 Incident, tempered by love and tolerance.

"Families of the victims can choose whether to forgive the government or not. As we [the KMT] face mistakes made in the past, however, we have no choice but to recognize our mistakes and apologize," he said.

The memory of "the incident is very painful for many people and recognizing historical mistakes and offering apologies aren't enough," Ma said. "Only by helping future generations remember this historical event can we prevent similar mistakes from happening."

The KMT and Ma's campaign team also held a 228 remembrance concert last night at Chungshan Hall in Taipei City and arranged blood donation collection efforts around the country.

Ma's spokesman Tsai Shih-ping (蔡詩萍) said the camp chose the arrangements in order to remember the victims of the 228 Incident in a non-political way.

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