The Taipei 228 Memorial Museum on Friday launched the “228 International Human Rights Exhibition: Jeju 4.3,” hoping that it will help Taiwanese to better understand the Jeju Uprising, which in South Korea carries the same weight as the 228 Massacre.
The Jeju Uprising began when the South Korean Labor Party planned gatherings to protest elections scheduled by the UN Temporary Commission on Korea and to commemorate the Samil Movement, or March First Movement, of 1919.
In an attempt to disperse the crowds, police fired warning shots, which killed six people, including a six-year-old child. The subsequent handling of the issue led to the uprising on Jeju Island, which began on April 3, 1948, and resulted in 14,373 civilian deaths.
Photo: Yang Hsin-hui, Taipei Times
The 228 Massacre began a year earlier in Taiwan when protesters were machine-gunned by security personnel on Feb. 28, 1947, at the Governor-General’s Office in Taipei. They were demanding the arrest of those responsible for the indiscriminate killing of a bystander in an angry crowd on Feb. 27 outside the Tianma Tea House (天馬茶房) on Nanjing W Road in Taipei.
The resulting crackdown by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime left tens of thousands dead and resulted in nearly four decades of martial law.
Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), president of the 228 Memorial Foundation, said he hopes everyone remembers the lessons of history and gives their support to Hong Kong, which is experiencing governmental suppression of human rights.
He hopes all countries in Asia can work together to create a future for themselves based on freedom and democracy, Hsueh said.
The exhibition would run for two years, Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Director Tien Wei (田瑋) said.
“By presenting information and pictures about the Jeju Uprising, we hope to prevent similar incidents and also reflect on whether the Hong Kong administration has overreacted,” Tian said.
Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation chairman Yang Jo-hoon, whose efforts made possible the enactment of the Jeju 4.3 Special Law in 2000, said that the 228 Incident and the 4.3 Incident were similar, because many died due to state-sanctioned violence.
The truth of the 4.3 Massacre was considered taboo in South Korea, and he was motivated by how Taiwan dealt with the 228 Massacre starting in the 1980s, he said.
Yang said he hoped to organize an exhibit about the 228 Massacre in Jeju.
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