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National Human Rights Museum on Green Island officially opened

2018/05/17 18:50:32

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, left) and Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君, right)

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) The National Human Rights Museum at White Terror Memorial Park on Green Island, Taitung County, was officially opened on Thursday, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) vowing to promote international exchange and foreign relations based on Taiwan's respect for human rights.

Tsai presided over the official opening of the museum to mark the 67th anniversary of political prisoners from Taiwan first being incarcerated on Green Island on May 17, 1951.

Accompanied by Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君), Tsai inspected a wall inscribed with names of political prisoners and later watched performances by Shin Sing Elementary School choir from Taitung County and members of the Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute.

More than 80 people, including surviving political prisoners and relatives of those who have since passed away, attended the event.

"The opening of this museum allows more people to understand how much the older generation endured during the White Terror period," Tsai said in her speech. "Through this museum, we hope the younger generation will realize the importance of freedom and continue to strive for human rights from the lessons learned through history."

Tsai also expressed hope that human rights education will be further promoted within government agencies and that the museum, which occupies the site of a prison that housed political prisoners during the authoritarian period, will serve as a platform to show the rest of the world that Taiwan is not afraid to reflect on its history.

According to Cheng, the Transitional Justice Commission, set to be officially established on May 20, will in concert with local governments launch a human rights education network, with projects designed to breathe new life into locations formerly used to violate human rights across the country.

The period immediately following the Feb. 28 Incident in 1947, during which political dissidents were suppressed, imprisoned and killed, is known as the "White Terror" era. It lasted until the lifting of martial law in 1987.

The 228 Incident refers to a brutal crackdown by the Kuomintang government, headed by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), after an anti-government uprising in 1947. The crackdown, which continued into May that year, left an estimated 18,000-28,000 people dead, according to government figures.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Flor Wang)