Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

228 Remembered: Ma urges more efforts to uncover truth

JUST A NUMBER:With the passage of time people are able to assess right from wrong, Ma Ying-jeou said, acknowledging that the massacre was traumatizing for Taiwanese

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Former president Ma Ying-jeou shows the message that he left on a card during a visit to a special exhibition — “228 and I” — at the 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei’s 228 Memorial Park yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he hopes that continued efforts would be made to uncover the truth behind the 228 Massacre, as there is insufficient evidence that former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was the mastermind.

Ma made the remarks during a visit to a temple near the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei with Hsu Kuang (徐光), the daughter of 228 victim Hsu Cheng (徐征), a teacher of Mandarin who was taken from his home in March 1947 and never heard from again.

Although official records put the number of deaths and missing persons from the time of the massacre at only 865 — a far cry from the tens of thousands of victims estimated by some historians — what matters is not the number, but rather that the Incident caused Taiwanese tremendous trauma, Ma said.

The government has paid nearly NT$7.2 billion (US$246 million at the current exchange rate) in compensation to the families of 228 victims, which is a worthwhile expenditure, he said.

Ma visited a special exhibition, titled “228 and I,” at the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum, where he joined others in writing what they would like to say to the victims in a note.

“In the face of history, we assess things in a matter-of-fact manner and can tell right from wrong. In the face of victims’ families, we put ourselves in their shoes and help heal their wounds and assuage their pain,” Ma wrote.

Separately yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) acknowledged his party’s responsibility in the 228 Massacre and called for reconciliation and learning from past mistakes.

Wu did not make a public appearance at any of the commemorative events yesterday marking the 71st anniversary of the massacre.

He instead issued a statement on Facebook urging people to forgive, but not to forget the lessons of history.

“Today is the anniversary of the 228 Incident, which brought back memories of a painful page in history. Even though 71 years have gone by, the wounds cannot be easily healed regardless of how much people have tried,” Wu said.

Wu’s father spent two years and nine months in prison after being falsely accused of a wrongdoing following the Incident, he said, adding that only those who experienced the tragedy personally could understand the terror people felt.

Given that the Incident occurred when the KMT was in power, the party cannot remove itself from the Incident, Wu said.

“For a long time, the KMT has made an effort to assuage the historical wounds, but most importantly, past mistakes can only be avoided if we engage in genuine self-reflection and protect freedom, democracy and human rights based on the Constitution,” he said.

“Reconciliation is the key to a better future,” he said.

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