Nation prepares to mark 228 Incident anniversary

IN MEMORIAM::Services are planned across the nation, as organizers hope to educate the younger generation about the massacre 68 years ago

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - Page 3

A number of events are to be held across the nation over the next few weeks to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the 228 Incident, an anti-government uprising and subsequent brutal crackdown that occurred in 1947.

Two memorial services will be held at the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei on Saturday, while music performances will staged at the plaza in front of the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum every day from today to Saturday, the 228 Memorial Foundation said.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) are scheduled to attend one of the memorial services, which will include a concert to commemorate the victims and their families, the Taiwan Nation Alliance said.

For the third consecutive year, university students will stage music and theater performances at Liberty Square in front of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, alongside exhibitions and accounts of the event by academics and victims and their families.

In Chiayi, a memorial service and a concert are planned for tomorrow. An exhibition of images and documents from the Incident will also open tomorrow and run until March 22 at the Chiayi 228 Memorial Park Museum.

Other memorial services will be held in Kaohsiung, New Taipei City, Taichung, Tainan, Greater Taoyuan, Pingtung and Yunlin on Saturday and in Keelung on March 8.

“228 is not a three-day holiday for people to go out and travel,” Lin Wei-lien (林偉聯), a pastor and officer of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and a member of the Taiwan Nation Alliance, said yesterday at a press conference at which the events were announced.

He said he hopes the memorial services and exhibitions will educate young people and children about the Incident and help to ensure that such a tragedy does not occur again in Taiwan.

Although the government has apologized many times, it is still unclear who should be held accountable for the massacre and how many people died during that period, according to Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), director of National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Taiwan History and the Taiwan 228 Care Association.

The official documents show discrepancies regarding the whereabouts of some people, he added.

“Forgiveness is only possible when the truth has been uncovered and the lessons of history have been learned,” said Hsueh, calling for more research to shed light on the Incident.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of Taiwanese, many of them members of the intellectual elite, were killed during the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s crackdown on the uprising, which began on Feb. 28, 1947, 16 months after Japan’s colonial rule over Taiwan ended.

The crackdown was prelude to nearly four decades of martial law.