Sun, Mar 01, 2009 - Page 2 News List

REMEMBERING THE 228 INCIDENT: Lin says renaming hall an insult

WHEN SORRY IS NOT ENOUGH Former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung said that aside from offering an apology, the government should make an effort to right past mistakes

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung bows his head in prayer at an event organized by Gikong Presbyterian Church yesterday to commemorate the unsolved murders of Lin’s mother and twin daughters on Feb. 28, 1980.

PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government's plan to change the name of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall back to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a severe insult to Taiwanese, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) said yesterday.

Lin made the remarks after attending a memorial service in remembrance of his mother and twin daughters, the victims of a brutal murder nearly three decades ago.

On Feb. 28, 1980, the body of Lin's mother, Lin Yu A-mei (林游阿妹), 60, was discovered by the basement stairs of the Lin family residence. She had been stabbed 13 times. Lin's seven-year-old twin daughters Lin Liang-chun (林亮均) and Lin Ting-chun (林亭均) were also found dead after being stabbed once. His nine-year-old daughter, Lin Huan-chun (林奐均), who had been stabbed eight times, survived. His wife, Fang Su-min (方素敏), was visiting Lin in prison at the time. Lin was arrested on Dec. 13, 1979 for participating in a human rights rally in Kaohsiung three days earlier.

“It is a great insult to the Taiwanese people when the government employs abundant resources to commemorate a man who is perceived by most historians in other countries as a dictator,” Lin said when asked by reporters for comments on the government's plan to change the name of the hall back to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

“To this day, who should be held accountable for the 228 Incident remains unknown,” he said. “All the memorial services and compensation for the 228 Incident are meaningless if it remains unclear who should be held responsible.”

Many pro-independence activists suspect that the “Lin Family Murders,” as the case came to be known, were orchestrated by the KMT government to discourage political activism, but this has never been proved.

To this day, no assassin has been apprehended and the motive remains unknown.

Lin Huan-chun and Fang Su-min also attended the memorial service yesterday at Gikong Presbyterian Church (義光教會). The church is located on the Lin family's former residence, the site of the murder 29 years ago.

Asked to comment on DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) criticism that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was not sincere in his apology over the 228 Incident, Lin I-hsiung said whether or not one apologizes is meaningless to overall social progress.

People who have committed mistakes should admit their wrongdoings and make a sincere effort to right their wrongs — not just offer an apology, he said.

He added that to the families of the 228 Incident victims, an apology would not erase the wounds.

The key is to set the record straight and let truth about the 228 Incident be known so that future generations can learn from the past, Lin said.

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