Ma's invitation to 228 event still stands: Taipei deputy mayor

02/24/2021 07:19 PM
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Taipei 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei 228 Peace Park. CNA file photo
Taipei 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei 228 Peace Park. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) The Taipei City government said Wednesday that it will not withdraw its invitation to former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to a attend 228 Incident commemorative event, over a protest by one of the organizers.

The annual commemorative event is about reconciliation and peace among the Taiwanese people, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said Wednesday, after the Taiwan Nation Alliance (TNA) previously withdrew as a joint organizer of the event.

The controversy over Ma's attendance is linked to his standing as a high-standing member of the Kuomintang, which was the party in power during the violent government crackdown on protesters that started on Feb. 28, 1947, and led to the deaths of thousands.

Tsai said, however, that the city government's invitation to Ma still stands.

"On this important occasion, we sincerely hope that through the commemorative event, all parties involved can learn from history and let go of the hatred and anger of the past," Tsai said, after a meeting with the TNA the previous day.

During that meeting, there were candid discussions on the TNA's decision to withdraw as a co-organizer of Sunday's event in Taipei, in protest over the invitation to Ma, the deputy mayor said.

While the TNA, a pro-Taiwan independence NGO, has withdrawn, it will not prevent its members from attending the commemorative event, according to Tsai.

In a statement issued earlier in the week, TNA convener Wu Shu-min (吳樹民) said other members had expressed strong opposition when the group was informed in mid-February that Ma was scheduled to speak at the event.

In 2010, when the families of 228 Incident victims filed a lawsuit, seeking an apology from Ma, who was Taiwan's president and KMT chairman at the time, on behalf of his party, Ma declined, Wu said.

"This showed that Ma and the KMT had no remorse over the incident," Wu said.

Meanwhile, asked to comment, Ma said Wednesday that he will attend Sunday's commemorative event. Ma said he has repeatedly apologized over the 228 Incident and has done a great deal over the past three decades to pave way for legislation that would allow compensation to the surviving relatives of the 228 victims.

According to the TNA, Ma's apologies were issued in his capacity as president of the country, not as chairman of the KMT.

Other invitees to the Taipei City government event on Sunday include Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who will represent the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), meanwhile, will preside over a national 228 memorial event in Kaohsiung on Sunday.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Joseph Yeh)

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