President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday vowed to achieve transitional justice and declassify more official documents regarding the 228 Incident during her presidential term, as she commemorated the 69th anniversary of the 228 Incident.
Tsai made the remarks during a commemorative event marking the Incident at Taipei’s 228 Peace Memorial Park, held by the Taipei City Government, the Taiwan Nation Alliance and the Taiwan 228 Care Association.
The event used music, flowers and food as a way of remembering and paying tribute to victims of the Incident, which refers an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, and was violently suppressed by the ten-KMT government. It led to the White Terror era.
While the actual number of people killed and missing remains unknown, some historians have put the figure in the tens of thousands.
“On the same day last year, I was here pledging that, if elected president, I would put an end to history’s mistakes and transform Taiwan into a nation with real freedom and democracy,” Tsai said.
Tsai said she knows people are focused on how the new government plans to push for transitional justice, a goal that, regardless of how difficult it is to fulfill, should not impede the government’s determination to pursue justice, the truth and rapprochement.
The main purpose of transitional justice is to achieve true reconciliation and solidarity within society, Tsai said.
“The willingness to face up to the dark chapters of its history is the basic attitude required of a civilized country. It is also an indispensable process to further and deepen Taiwanese democracy,” Tsai said.
Tsai said pushing for transitional justice would be her most important task because she wants all Taiwanese to face and learn from the nation’s past together so as to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
The president-elect said upon her inauguration, she plans to request concerned government agencies to further study and publish official documents from the White Terror era.
“We welcome people who have relevant documents to share them with us, so that we can have more information to help us excavate the truth,” Tsai said.
In addition to the further de-classification of documents, Tsai said she would also establish a “truth-finding and reconciliation committee” to revise and draw up relevant laws to ensure the restoration of historical facts.
Only with justice and the truth can we put this dark period of history behind us and march forward to the future, Tsai said.
During the yesterday’s event, Pan Hsin-hsing (潘信行), son of 228 Incident victim Pan Mu-chih (潘木枝), said all the families of 228 victims want is the facts, but the Executive Yuan report on the Incident revealed only a partial truth.
“A partial truth is no truth at all. The report only named the victims and left out the perpetrators. What kind of truth is that?” Pan Hsin-hsing said.
He said he hopes that Tsai’s administration can draw from the successful experiences of transitional justice set by South Africa and East Germany.
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