Former President Ma, KMT urges Taiwan to move on from 228 Incident

02/28/2021 09:35 PM
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Former President Ma Ying-jeou. CNA photo Feb. 28, 2021
Former President Ma Ying-jeou. CNA photo Feb. 28, 2021

Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA)Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the KMT chairman urged Taiwanese to move on from the historical wounds of the 228 Incident, at a commemorative event in Taipei Sunday.

At a ceremony to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the 228 Incident, Ma urged Taiwanese society, which he said remains divided by the incident, to embrace reconciliation and move forward.

Ma said he understands the pain of the victims' families over losing their loved ones and that is why he chose to review the history and handle government remedial measures as fairly as possible, in an attempt to heal such pain.

Ma told the audience that the sweater he was wearing was given to him by the relative of a 228 Incident victim two years ago, signifying reconciliation.

The 228 Incident refers to a crackdown on anti-government protests that occurred from late February until mid-May 1947 in Taiwan under KMT rule, which resulted in tens of thousands of casualties.

The incident sewed division in Taiwan's society, as native-born Taiwanese considered the KMT to be a foreign regime and viewed those mainlanders who came with them to Taiwan as oppressors.

Ma was invited to Sunday's ceremony by the organizer Taipei City government. However, one of the co-organizers of the event, the Taiwan Nation Alliance (TNA), pulled out because of Ma's participation.

The group issued a statement accusing Ma and the KMT of having no remorse over the 228 Incident.

In addition to the boycott, Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅)of the Social Democratic Party, criticized Ma and the KMT during the event.

Holding a placard on which was written a demand that Ma and the KMT "sincerely repent" before reconciliation, Miao demanded the party make public "critical files" relating to the 228 Incident, and return the KMT's ill-gotten wealth to the people.

Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) expressed support for Ma in a Facebook post.

"The 228 Incident is painful for all Taiwanese people. The pain does not belong to any one group. And because it is a shared pain, 228 Incident commemoration is not exclusive to any particular group," Chiang said.

He also said Ma worked assiduously to secure justice and compensation for the victims since he served as Taipei mayor from 1998-2006 and apologized to victims and their families on behalf of the KMT in 2005.

Chiang urged the public to reject political manipulation of the 228 Incident and instead make the incident a bedrock for reconciliation by learning from history.

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Chen Yu-ting, Liu Kuan-ting and Emerson Lim)

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