Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors and relatives of victims of the 228 Incident yesterday criticized the city government for putting up signs that describe 228 Peace Park as the “228 Peace Disaster Prevention Park.”
“Since when has the 228 Incident become a ‘peace disaster’?” DPP City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) asked at a press conference while holding pictures of the blue signs with white print that read “228 disaster prevention park” (二二八防災公園) in Chinese and “228 peace disaster prevention park” in English.
Fourteen of the signs were found on streets around the park.
The 228 Incident refers to an uprising across the country against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime in 1947 that was violently suppressed by the government.
Inside 228 Peace Park in Taipei stands the 228 Memorial Museum, which was used as a radio station during the initial days of the incident to spread news about the uprising that began in Taipei.
Some victims’ family members said the signs’ name change was politically motivated.
“I don’t want to think this way, but I sort of suspect the city government made the change to erase the historic memory,” former Memorial Foundation of the 228 Incident executive director Yang Chen-long (楊振隆) said.
Taipei City Fire Department official Chou Chung-chi (周鍾驥), who took part in the press conference, denied the change was politically motivated, but said the wording on the sign may not be appropriate.
He said the park was designated a “disaster prevention park” in Zhongzheng District (中正) as part of the city government’s aim to create one large open-air disaster asylum for each of the city’s 12 administrative districts.
“For the project, we’ve decided to insert the word ‘disaster prevention’ into each park’s name, so we have signs with names like ‘Da-an Disaster Prevention Park’ and ‘Shilin Disaster Prevention Park,’” Chou said. “‘The name ‘228 Peace Disaster Prevention Park’ does look quite strange, but we didn’t think that far when we made the signs.”
He said the blue “disaster prevention park” signs were put up so people would know which parks have been designated as open-air shelters.
“We will take down all the ‘228 Peace Disaster Prevention Park’ signs within a week, and will hold meetings to decide what should be on the new signs before putting up new signs,” Chou said.
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