The 228 Incident: Sixty years on - Lin I-hsiung mourns his lost loved ones

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Mar 01, 2007 - Page 3

Yesterday was not only a day of national mourning for the victims of the 228 Incident, but also a day of personal grief for former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), who on this day in 1980 lost his mother and two daughters to unknown killers.

Lin held a memorial service yesterday in remembrance of the 27th anniversary of the death of his loved ones at the Gikong Church (義光教會) which is located on Hsinyi Road -- previously the family residence and the site of the murders.

At the time of the murders, Lin was still in prison for his involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident -- also known as the Formosa Incident -- an anti-government demonstration organized by Formosa Magazine on Dec. 10, 1979.

At around noon on Feb. 28, 1980, the body of Lin's mother, Lin Yu A-mei (林游阿妹), 60, was discovered by the basement stairs. She had been stabbed 13 times. Lin's twin daughters, Lin Liang-chun (林亮均) and Lin Ting-chun (林亭均), were also found dead. Both seven-year-olds had been stabbed a single time.

Lin's nine-year-old daughter, Lin Huan-chun (林奐均), had been stabbed eight times, but she survived. Lin's wife, Fang Su-min (方素敏), was visiting him in prison at the time.

The murders were never solved, despite a NT$2 million (US$60,587) reward offered by the police.

At the time of the murders, many pro-independence figures suspected that they had been orchestrated by the then Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government to discourage political activism, but this was never proved.

When approached after the service yesterday, Lin I-hsiung refused to make any comments on the 228 Incident or the murders of his loved ones.

However, one of his articles written in 1995 was selected by the Chiling Educational Foundation -- established by Lin in 1991 to promote harmony -- and read out during the service.

In the article titled The Best Memorial: Promote Harmony Between Ethnic Groups and Eradicate Authoritarianism to Commemorate the 228 Incident, Lin wrote that the 228 Incident should not be interpreted simply as a conflict between ethnic groups.

To do so would be to absolve the perpetrators of their guilt and place the blame on innocent Mainlanders, he wrote. Instead, the incident should be regarded as an act of suppression by a foreign regime, Lin wrote.

In the article, Lin also called for recognition and respect of the fact that different ethnic communities co-exist in Taiwan and that different ethnic groups have different memories, languages and culture.

"It is every ethnic group's responsibility to pursue harmony between different communities," he wrote, adding that politicians who manipulate ethnic issues for their own interests should be condemned by all communities.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) both attended the service yesterday to pay their condolences to the deceased.

After the service, Yu told the media that dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) should be held responsible for both the 228 Incident and the murder of Lin's family.

"[Former KMT chairman] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should help [the public] uncover the truth," Yu said. "Since Chiang was the perpetrator [of the 228 Incident], Ma should also stop paying homage to Chiang [at his mausoleum]."