Wed, Mar 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

228, PAST AND PRESENT: Premier highlights transitional justice

‘MATURE DEMOCRACY’:‘Tears and blood that have been shed should not be in vain,’ Lin Chuan said, adding that younger generations should be given a freer future

By Chen Wei-han and Sean Lin  /  Staff reporters

Lillies adorn a display of photographs of victims of the 228 Incident displayed at an event in Taipei yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of the massacre.

Photo: CNA

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) yesterday highlighted the government’s determination to achieve transitional justice at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the 228 Massacre at a military base in Kaohsiung, where the nationwide military crackdown started.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), former presidential adviser Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), Kaohsiung City Council speaker Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) and relatives of people killed in the 228 Incident also attended the event at the Armed Forces Reserve Command’s Shoushan base, with a moment of silence observed and flowers placed in a room where peace negotiations between city residents and base personnel was held.

After the negotiations failed, former chief of general staff Peng Meng-chi (彭孟緝), known as the “Butcher of Kaohsiung” for his role in the massacre, on March 6, 1947, ordered troops to repress protests, making Kaohsiung the first city to be subdued militarily during the Incident.

The base was opened for the commemoration of the Incident for the first time.

Lin delivered a formal apology on behalf of the government to the families of those killed and said the Incident and the ensuing political repression crippled democracy and prevented ethnic reconciliation and social unity.

The government’s efforts to achieve transitional justice are to bring about reconciliation and unity, and the nation has to face its dark past to ensure a mature democracy, Lin said.

Since its inauguration, the Cabinet has worked to settle the issue of illegal party assets, declassified political documents and announced a Freedom of Speech Day to boost transitional justice, he said.

“Tears and blood that have been shed should not be in vain,” Lin said. “The nation has to be more democratic and open, and younger generations should be given a freer environment where human rights are more properly protected so the suffering of those who came before us would not be in vain.”

Other local governments also held 228 commemorative events yesterday.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the culprits of the 228 Massacre must be identified, so that the Incident can become something that facilitates reconciliation among Taiwanese, rather than something that creates division and incites hatred.

“As a family member of a 228 victim, Feb. 28 is a tough day for me,” Ko said at the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei.

“Every time I think about the historic tragedy that took my grandfather and the trauma my father has had to deal with, I feel uneasy and disturbed,” he said, in reference to his grandfather Ko Shih-yuan (柯世元), who was imprisoned by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration in 1947 and reportedly died from injuries he sustained being tortured by KMT troops.

The mistakes of a regime 70 years ago caused many Taiwanese to perish and even though the government has issued apologies and paid compensation, the identities of culprits of the Incident have never been made clear, which causes conflict and mistrust among Taiwanese, despite three transitions of power, he said.

He called on people to view the “unfortunate” period in the nation’s history with a positive mindset conducive to reconciliation, so that hatred and trauma can be ended.

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