Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

228 Remembered/In Focus: Victims, families recount horrors of 228 Incident

ORAL HISTORY:Survivors and families of victims of the massacre recounted the arrests, torture, killings and disappearance of many innocent people 71 years ago

By Lai Hsiao-tung, Su Fu-nan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

People release balloons at a ceremony held yesterday at the 228 Memorial Park in Yunlin County’s Gukeng Township to mark the 71st anniversary of the 228 Incident.

Photo: Huang Shu-li, Taipei Times

Due to the nature of the 228 Massacre and the subsequent White Terror period, many of those who were arrested or questioned disappeared, making survivors of the massacre and their direct families precious sources of oral histories.

The 228 Incident refers to an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, against the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime. The resulting brutal crackdown left tens of thousands dead and led to nearly four decades of martial law.

New Taipei City 228 Association director-general Hung Hsien-chao (洪顯詔), son of massacre victim Hung Chin-mu (洪金木), urged the government to release historical records so the public could learn the truth.

Survivors and the families of victims, including Taiwanese social elite and many innocent people, have long lived under the shadow of the massacre and the White Terror era, he said.

Hung Hsien-chao said that 10 soldiers took his father away and looted their home, because his father had spoken up for the people and urged them to go home after unfruitful negotiations.

“According to Taiwanese custom, he should have been released if he was alive, or we should have received his body for burial, but now we do not even have a grave where we can pay our respects,” he said.

“While past events cannot not be clarified, we cannot condone the erasure of historical truths,” he said, adding that he hopes future generations could avoid such tragedies when passing judgement on the handling of the massacre.

Tseng Chung-ying (曾仲影), a 97-year-old renowned director and pop music composer, originally refused to be interviewed, saying he “did not wish to revisit such psychological trauma,” but changed his mind after earnest requests.

Tseng said he was asked to translate then-Taiwan governor Chen Yi’s (陳儀) speech during the 228 Incident into Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), as he was a Hoklo-language newscaster at the then-KMT Central Executive Committee Wireless Broadcasting Station.

Soldiers the next day escorted him from the station to the Taiwan Garrison Command for questioning, Tseng said, adding that he attempted to escape by jumping out of the car, but was shot in the left calf by the soldiers.

Hands tied behind his back and blindfolded, Tseng said he endured 11 days of being dragged to and from the questioning chamber “like a dog” without a blanket or treatment for the gunshot wound.

“Had I not been young, I would have died,” he said.

Tseng said he was accused of changing Chen’s speech during translation to say “National Father Sun Yat-sen’s (孫中山) minsheng zuyi (民生主義, people’s livelihood) was communism.”

Although they were unable to prove the charges, he was nonetheless sentenced him to two years imprisonment, Tseng said.

“I still shudder when I think about that period,” he added.

Another victim, Chen Chi-tse (陳淇澤), 93, was emotional when reminiscing about the tragedy 71 years ago.

“I was tortured both physically and psychologically during the 153 days I was detained and was barely alive. My father spared no efforts, to the point of beggaring the family, to save me — his only son,” Chen said.

Then a first-year law student at National Taiwan University, Chen said he had gone to Tienma Tea House (天馬茶房) out of curiosity.

The tea house was near the intersection of today’s Nanjing W Road and Yanping N Road in Taipei, where Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁) on Feb. 27, 1947, was beaten by Tobacco Monopoly Bureau agents for illegally selling cigarettes, sparking the protest that led to the crackdown.

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