Sun, Mar 01, 2009 - Page 2 News List

REMEMBERING THE 228 INCIDENT: Hundreds join 228 sit-in rally

NEVER FORGET One of the participants at the rally stressed the need to find the truth for the country to be able to move on and promote reconciliation

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Participants at an an event organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors form the Chinese characters for “Do not forget 228” at Liberty Square in Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 228 Incident.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

More than 1,000 people took part in a sit-in rally on Liberty Square yesterday to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the 228 Incident. The group formed the Chinese characters “wuwang 228” (勿忘228) —“Do not forget 228” — to remind the public not to forget the tragedy.

“Everyone in this country — not just those who were killed during the incident — is a victim of the 228 Incident, yet we only got to talk about the incident in public and tried to find the truth about it after martial law was lifted more than 20 years ago,” said Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), chairman of the Taiwan Association of University Professors, the group that organized the rally.

“But 20 years after we began our search for the truth, did we find it? Did we find out who should take ultimate responsibility? Did we prosecute the culprit?” Chen asked the crowd.

The 228 Incident refers to the uprising in 1947 against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime and the brutal crackdown that left tens of thousands dead and led to a nearly four-decade-long rule under martial law.

“Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was the one who made the decision to send troops to Taiwan based on all the information he had received, of course he should be held responsible,” Chen said. “We need reconciliation, but without confession and truth, there cannot be reconciliation.”

A participant in his 70s surnamed Liao, who witnessed the 228 Massacre, said the lessons of 228 have to be remembered.

“You were dead if you tried to challenge dictatorship through peaceful means,” he said.

Liao said that people were too naive and believed that they could talk and negotiate with Chen Yi (陳儀), the executive administrator at the time.

“Chen Yi promised reforms on one hand, but asked for more troops from Chiang on the other,” Liao said. “At the end, most of the people who negotiated with Chen Yi were murdered.”

“People should remember the lessons and do not get deceived again,” he said.

Yang Tzu-fu (楊梓富), who did not join the crowd in forming the Chinese characters, began his own sit-in at the square on Friday night. He said that the public should remember 228 for the courage that the people showed during the incident.

“Our ancestors were so brave in resisting the [KMT] regime at the time, but we have compromised. We're letting them down,” he said.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) told reporters that he felt proud and honored to participate in the sit-in and would continue to contribute to the search for the truth behind the 228 Incident.

“Activities like these promote social justice, human rights and peace,” he said, adding that people can forgive what the KMT has done but should never forget the “costly historical lesson.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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