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President pledges to further investigate 228 Incident

2019/02/27 16:01:58

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, front, right)

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Wednesday that the government is seeking to identify more potential victims of the 228 Incident who were previously unrecorded, and will issue a new report later this year on the brutal crackdown on an anti-government uprising in 1947.

Tsai made the remarks while receiving an overseas group of family members of some of the victims.

In her address to the group, she said the family members have long been concerned about the progress of transitional justice, and without the constant reminders from them, the government will not be able to honestly face and reflect on this important event in the nation's history, nor will there be progress made.

Tsai said that since the beginning of Taiwan's democratization, the government has made a series of efforts to implement transitional justice, including admitting its wrongdoing, issuing apologies to the victims of the incident, launching investigations and offering compensation.

However, she noted, the process of truth discovery and the pursuit of justice sees no end, and the government has the responsibility to contribute more.

In the past two years, the government has been more attentive than ever in the work of transitional justice, the president said.

The 228 Incident was triggered by a clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947, leading to protests a day later that were violently suppressed.

The crackdown triggered a broader anti-government uprising islandwide that was put down by Kuomintang (KMT) forces. An estimated 18,000 to 28,000 people were killed during the crackdown, which lasted into early May, according to an investigation commissioned by the Cabinet in 1992.

From the legal side, Tsai said, the 2017 passage of the "Act on Promoting Transitional Justice" offers solid legal ground to implement transitional justice.

From the organizational perspective, the Transitional Justice Promotion Committee was put into operation last year, and the Memorial Foundation of 228 will continue to unearth details of the incident, and identify potential victims who were previously unknown, she added.

Tsai said that with the National Human Rights Museum that officially opened last year, the public have more opportunities to better understand the implications of transitional justice.

Tsai said that "we will never forget, and we will not stop" seeking the truth, seeking accountability for the incident and promoting history education.

She said she hopes family members of the victims can continue to provide suggestions and participate in relevant discussions, so that the work of transitional justice can be carried out more thoroughly.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Chung Yu-chen)
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