The Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) will commemorate the 228 Incident on Feb. 28 by staging a silent sit-in, association chairman Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深) said yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference in Taipei, Chen urged all Taiwanese, regardless of their political leaning, to participate in the activity.
“We hope to reveal the historical truth of the massacre that occurred 62 years ago in a peaceful manner,” said Chen, adding that the 228 Incident was a historical tragedy that has affected all of society.
Chen said that during the “Never Forget the 228 Incident” event at National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, 1,246 participants would sit on the ground to form the Chinese characters for “never forget 228.”
Chen said the activity would be peaceful, with no speeches or slogans.
“[At the event] we will only play a pre-recorded tape about the events during the 228 massacre,” Chen said.
He said the historical truth of the 228 Incident has been clouded by political conflict between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), adding that politicians from both parties have used the incident for their own purposes.
“The truth has been distorted because both parties have exploited the incident during election campaigns,” Chen said.
Asked if the vast majority of those who hope to uncover the truth of the 228 Incident are DPP supporters, Chen said that the association would reflect on the matter.
“Despite past stereotypes, we welcome with open arms all Taiwanese who wish to participate in this event, because the 228 Incident is a historical tragedy that has shaken the lives of all Taiwanese regardless of their ancestry or political leaning,” Chen said.
The 228 Incident was an anti-government uprising that began on Feb. 28, 1947, sparked on Feb. 27 when six agents of the Monopoly Bureau beat Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁), who was illegally selling cigarettes. One of the bystanders who tried to protest the agents’ actions was shot and killed by an agent, inflaming public anger, with crowds besieging police stations. On Feb. 28, crowds stormed the Monopoly Bureau and ransacked offices, triggering more protests, shootings and crackdowns.
Estimates of the number killed during the incident and the ensuring violent suppression efforts by the KMT administration in March and April 1947 range from 10,000 to 30,000.
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