Cold weather and steady rain did not deter hundreds of people from more than 60 civic groups who marched in downtown Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the 228 Incident.
The groups, which included the 228 Memorial Foundation, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, gave young leaders the spotlight by letting them lead the march.
“Let us be proud of Taiwan and our democracy,” marchers declared as they urged people not to forget the victims of atrocities and political oppression during the White Terror era.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The 228 Incident was a crackdown launched by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against civilian demonstrations following the indiscriminate killing of a bystander in an angry crowd in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947; it is considered the start of the White Terror era.
During the march, teams of people held up white sheets, and walked in somber silence as though in a funeral procession, while audio recordings of the names of those killed during the massacre were played.
“The march started at the site of conflict that sparked the 228 Incident, the Tianma Tea House (天馬茶房), so that we could go back in time and uncover history and the truth of what took place, and transitional justice can be implemented,” Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation executive Cheng Ching-hua (鄭清華) said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Pastor Lin Wei-lien (林偉聯), of the Presbyterian Church’s church and society committee, said that the 228 Massacre left Taiwanese society in pain.
“We hold the march and related activities each year so that people do not forget, and to enable the different sectors of society to have more rational and open dialogues about this part of our history,” he said.
“This history must not be lost. We shall pass it onto the next generation, to become the common history and legacy of Taiwanese people,” he said.
“It is not just for the older generation — the younger generation must continue to commemorate the 228 Incident,” he added.
The young people picked to lead the march were all university students, including Chu Chen (朱震), Yu Teng-chieh (游騰傑), Hsu Kuang-tse (許冠澤), Liao Chung-lun (廖崇倫) and Cheng Shau-yun (鄭韶昀), who in 2015 organized nationwide protests over the then-KMT government’s plan to make high-school curriculum guidelines and textbooks more “China-centric.”
At the end of the march a prayer service was held and flowers were laid to commemorate the victims.
Participants gathered in front of the Executive Yuan, and Chu, representing the young people, read a statement.
“We believe that the phrase: ‘We are Taiwanese, not Chinese’ encapsulates the greatest common factor shared among people of our generation. We do not, and will never, consider Taiwan a part of China,” the statement said.
“We cannot remain silent and we cannot withhold our actions, because eventually we have to face the threat from China. What we can do is to hold each other by the hand. In this darkness, I feel as scared as you, but I will not let go of you,” it said.
“We will walk forward step by step, believing that we will soon see the light. Let us defend the values of democracy, let us be proud of Taiwan and our democracy,” the statement said.
“We hope that one day when we talk about the 228 Incident, we will no longer constrain ourselves to the peace declaration, history of oppression, or non-violent movements of intellectual elites. We may also recognize the bloody history of armed resistances of ordinary people,” it said.
“Let transitional justice enlighten the young generation. By inspecting the fabric of small things, let us feel the generosity and mercifulness of the subtropical island, and feel the scents of history, rivers and the ocean,” it said.
“From countless struggles of our ancestors, we understand the tradition of recalcitrance, and the character of bravery and perseverance embedded in Taiwanese people. Finally, in the battles of the real world, we will continue to be fearless,” it said.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks