More than 20,000 victims of the White Terror era have been compensated, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Monday at a memorial service to mark the 26th anniversary of the lifting of martial law.
As of the end of last month, the Compensation Fund for Unlawful Persecution and Espionage Cases during the Martial Law Period had approved about NT$19.5 billion (US$652.9 million) in compensation to victims and their families, he said.
The Memorial Foundation of 228 has also provided NT$7.2 billion in compensation to more than 9,600 victims of political repression, Ma said.
The 228 Incident refers to the brutal crackdown on a popular uprising against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime that began on Feb. 28, 1947. Martial law was imposed that year and only lifted in 1987.
Ma said the government understands that the compensation can partially relieve the victims and their families of their financial burden, but can never make up for their suffering.
“Providing compensation [to victims] will not write off the incidents once and for all,” Ma said, adding that the government will prevent similar tragedies from happening again.
Victim representative Feng Shou-e (馮守娥), 83, said she and family members spent a combined total of 31 years in prison. The brother was just 22 when he was killed during the White Terror era.
Feng was arrested for attending a study group session 63 years ago, when she was 20, having graduated a year before from National Lan-Yang Girls’ Senior High School.
She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was 30 when she was released.
Her brother, her senior by two years, was arrested the same day and was later sentenced to death after spending four-and-a-half months in prison. He was a teacher at Luo-Dong Elementary School in Yilan County.
“Past mistakes and lessons shall not be forgotten,” she said.
The public should not ignore the fundamental cause of martial law, which was the warring between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, she said, adding that she hoped cross-strait relations will remain peaceful forever.
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