Civic groups and victims’ families will take to the street today to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the 228 Incident, with the focus on former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), whose recent controversial remarks on the 228 Massacre have sparked heavy criticism.
Dozens of civic groups will join the victims’ families in the march under the theme of “self-salvation to protect Taiwan,” which will take them from Yongle Market (永樂市場) to the end point of Dadaocheng wharf (大稻埕碼頭), where they will release water lanterns to pay tribute to those who perished in the massacre that began in 1947.
In a violent suppression of anti-government uprisings that began on Feb. 28, 1947 — 16 months after the end of Japanese colonial rule — Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops killed between 18,000 and 30,000 people, the majority of them Taiwanese and including many leaders and intellectuals.
The march, which is scheduled to begin at 2:28pm, will pass the former location of the Tianma Tea House (天馬茶房) on Nanjing W Road, where a government investigator shot a citizen to death, resulting in the uprising 65 years ago, before arriving at the wharf for a ceremony, said Taipei City 228 Justice Care Association president Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), one of the organizers.
However, much attention in the march will be focused on Hau and Ma’s controversial comments.
Hau first sparked controversy with an op-ed piece in the Chinese--language United Daily News on Feb. 21 in which he said that no more than 1,000 people were killed in the massacre, a far cry from government-supported research that concluded more than 18,000 had been killed.
Ma dismissed Hau’s comments on Friday, but stirred up more criticism after he said “the focus of the  Incident is not on the number of people that were killed.”
Chen, Taiwan 228 Care Association chairman Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲) and other civic group leaders are scheduled to respond to Hau and Ma’s comments.
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) is also scheduled to memorialize the dead and highlight Taiwan’s democratic movement in a speech.
Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will not attend the event.
The march will start a series of nationwide commemorative events, including a ceremony at Keelung Harbor on March 8, because the KMT troops landed in Keelung on March 8, 1947, and a second march on March 25 in Chiayi City, where people were publicly executed in front of the Chiayi Rail Station by KMT troops.