The funeral for 228 Massacre survivor Chen Shui-lien (陳水蓮) was held on Monday in Chiayi.
Chiang Jung-sen (江榮森) of the Chiayi 228 Memorial Foundation said Chen, who died on Oct. 16, had been “an important witness to the massacre of civilians at Chiayi’s Lioucuo neighborhood (劉厝) at the hands of Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] troops from China. What he saw and experienced in 1947 was very crucial to historians and researchers.”
“During his lifetime, Chen’s heart was always troubled by the fact that the murderers were never identified, and that justice was not served for the victims and their families. He regretted this fact right up to his death,” Chiang said.
A protest by Taiwanese against the KMT administration and troops that began in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947, was violently suppressed by the government, but eventually led to four decades of martial law rule in Taiwan. Estimates of the number killed range from 10,000 to 30,000 or more.
According to eyewitness accounts and documented reports by Chen and other survivors, KMT troops marched into Chiayi in early March, triggering a fierce battle at Chiayi Shuishang Airport against locals who tried to defend their city. The troops headed for Lioucuo to loot houses on March 9.
Chen, then 27, hid inside a granary barn while the soldiers were looting. A soldier spotted him and fired three shots. Chen was hit by one bullet, which passed through his arm. He was then locked up with more than 20 other civilians in a house, guarded by two KMT soldiers. However, the guard abandoned the house to join the looting spree, which is why Chen and the others survived.
Twelve Lioucuo residents locked up in a nearby house were not so lucky and were executed by KMT soldiers the next day, along with another individual in an event that became known as the “Lioucou Neighborhood Massacre.”
Chen was a special guest to the opening of the Chiayi City 228 Memorial Park in Lioucou on Dec. 19, 2011, along with then-vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長).
Chen told Siew and other attendees that his most important wish was for the government to provide answers about the massacres and identify those who were responsible for perpetrating it. His wish was never fulfilled.
“Chen was among the last survivors of the 228 Massacre victims in the Chiayi area. At 93, he was the oldest of the survivors. Now he is gone, but the truth of what happened during the 228 Massacre has never been revealed,” Chiang said.