Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) yesterday said former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) lacked common sense when he questioned the number of deaths in the 228 Massacre.
“Mr Hau Pei-tsun was a representative of the ruling regime and he shouldn’t have made such comments,” Lin said after a memorial service for victims of the massacre.
“He should have approached the subject in a more discreet manner,” Lin said.
Hau, a general-turned-politician who served as premier from 1990 to 1993, questioned in an op-ed published in the Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) on Feb. 21 whether “more than 10,000 were killed” in the massacre, as is stated in a school textbook.
Hau said that when he was premier, a government task force convened to address the issue concluded that only about 1,000 people had put in claims for compensation as victims of the massacre.
Academics and victims’ families have estimated that more than 10,000 people died in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime’s crackdown on civil unrest and dissent, which was triggered by a dispute between a cigarette vendor and officials from the Tobacco Monopoly Bureau on Feb. 27, 1947.
A report commissioned by the Executive Yuan in 1992 when Hau was premier put the death toll at between 18,000 and 28,000.
Hau’s comments in the UDN sparked outrage among victims’ families, many of whom participated in a demonstration yesterday to mark the 65th anniversary of the Incident.
“People’s lives are precious; it is wrong to kill even one person,” Lin said.
The responsible way to approach the issue, Lin said, would be to review how and why the 228 Incident and ensuing massacre took place and what could have been done better in the handling of the issue.
“These issues should all be discussed as a lesson for future generations and to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring,” he said.
Lin’s 60-year-old mother and his seven-year-old twin daughters were stabbed to death on Feb. 28, 1980, at the Lin residence in Taipei by an unknown number of assailants. Lin’s eldest daughter was severely injured and was the lone survivor of the attack.
The murder occurred after Lin had just been arrested for his involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident, a KMT crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Kaohsiung on Dec. 10, 1979. Those responsible for the Lin killings were never identified.