Two US congressmen issued statements on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to mark the 65th anniversary of the 228 Massacre.
Representatives Robert Andrews, a Democrat, and Scott Garrett, a Republican, made a plea in the Congressional Record for their colleagues to join them in commemorating “this tragic chapter in Taiwan’s history.”
Andrews said that freedom was “not negotiable,” adding that he hoped the massacre would inspire Taiwanese “in their struggle for full independence, international participation and for the continued enhancement of the mutual relationship between Taiwan and the US.”
Garrett added that at least 18,000 people lost their lives during the 228 turmoil.
He said that over the next half-century, the Taiwanese democracy movement paved the way for Taiwan’s “momentous transformation from a dictatorship under the Chinese Nationalists [Party (KMT)] to a thriving and pluralistic democracy.”
Formosan Association for Public Affairs president Mark Kao (高龍榮) thanked the congressmen for their support and used the occasion to attack former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) for alleging in an opinion piece in the Chinese-language United Daily News last week that “only” 500 people lost their lives in the massacre.
“It is outrageous that a former high government official still denies that the 228 Massacre took place,” Kao said. “It is equivalent to a denial of the Holocaust in World War II.”
He said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should condemn Hau’s remarks “in the strongest possible terms.”
“Ma needs to release the many documents that are still kept in the archives of the military and secret police agencies,” Kao said. “Taiwan’s free and open society needs to squarely face the horror of the atrocities committed 65 years ago. The truth and reconciliation process has just begun.”