A coalition of pro-independence groups staged a march in Taipei yesterday to mark the eve of the 63rd anniversary of the 228 Massacre.
The 228 Massacre refers to the uprising in 1947 against the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime and the brutal crackdown that left tens of thousands dead and led to nearly four decades of rule under martial law.
Participants gathered at Yongle Market (永樂市場) on Dihua Street and proceeded to the Tien Ma Tea Room (天馬茶房), where the conflict between anti-contraband officers and locals took place. The parade, co-organized by the Taiwan Nation Alliance, Taiwan Association of Caring for 228 and eight other independence groups, then proceeded to the Monopoly Bureau, the Executive Yuan and finally the 228 Memorial Museum inside the 228 Peace Park.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged the KMT to examine itself, face history and admit the mistakes that it made.
Tsai said the 228 Incident was one of the most significant chapters in Taiwanese history, which left two wounds on the country.
First was the KMT regime's ruthless treatment of Taiwanese, and second was its failure to repent and its attempt to conceal the facts and distort the truth behind the tragic incident, she said.
Tsai said some people say they can forgive, but they cannot forget. We can hope for forgiveness, she said, but the perpetrator must reflect on itself and admit its mistakes.
“Without analyzing its past and admitting mistakes, it [the KMT] cannot empathize with the victims and their families, nor can it win the forgiveness of the victims,” she said.
Tai Jui-min (戴瑞民), one of the participants at the parade, joined the procession with his two daughters. He said he wanted his children to learn for themselves how the incident began and knew how it spread into a nationwide protest.
His oldest daughter, Tai Ju-yi (戴如意), said she was interested in Taiwanese history, but unfortunately her school did not teach much of the subject.
“I know more about the ‘228 Incident’ from the books my father bought me and at the library,” the fourth-grader said.
Lin Chao-chi (林肇基), another participant, joined the march on a wheelchair because of poor health. Lin said two of his best friends at National Taiwan University were falsely accused of “joining the Communist Party” and executed.
“I can never forget or forgive what they did to my friends because they [the KMT] were merciless,” the 84-year-old said.
To commemorate the historic tragedy, a national memorial service will be held in Tainan City today.
At a separate setting yesterday, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said he understood the feelings of the families of the 228 Massacre victims because he was one of them “in a broad sense.”
Wu Den-yih said his father,Wu Shi (吳奚), was “jailed for two years and nine months for no reason, two or three years after the 228 Incident of 1947.”
The man who fabricated the treason charge against his father revealed the truth before he was executed. Military prosecutors reopened the case and his father was able to clear his name and was released from prison.
However, Wu Shi, who was a senior officer at the Taichung County Government before he was arrested, was not able to go back to work, Wu Den-yih said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN