Taipei--Family members of victims of the Feb. 28, 1947 government crackdown on the local population thanked the government Sunday for taking steps to address their concerns related to "transitional justice."
One day after Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (???) announced a series of measures to push for transitional justice, including purging symbols of late president Chiang Kai-shek, leaders of Taiwan 228 Care, a group dedicated to addressing residual issues from the historical tragedy, thanked the government for the moves.
Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident, Cheng said the previous practice of playing a song in memory of Chiang Kai-shek at the opening and closing of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei was stopped on Feb. 23.
Her ministry also stopped the sale of commodities such as figurines and stationery associated with the authoritarian ruler on Feb. 10.
Other measures being proposed to implement "transitional justice" by Cheng include drafting revisions of the hall's organic law within six months that would be aimed at a possible name change, the hall's honor guards and public displays, and the removal of statues of the late president.
Pan Hsin-hsing (???), chief history officer of Taiwan 228 Care, said victims' families were grateful for the government's plan, which according to Lin Li-tsai (???), a board member of the NGO, was actually what her group had proposed.
"Over the past 70 years, there have only been victims but no victimizers [on this issue]," Lin said.
The situation should have changed, Lin said, after a 2006 report by the government-sponsored Memorial Foundation of 228 identified Chiang as the main culprit behind the incident.
Lin urged the Legislature to pass a bill on promoting transitional justice so that there will be a legal basis to assign historical responsibility and carry out justice for all.
Ouyang Hui-mei (????), daughter of human rights artist Ouyang Wen (???), said she felt indignant that so many people were still paying their respects to Chiang 70 years after he perpetrated the mass killing and the ensuing "White Terror" in Taiwan.
She said it was a must that all Chiang-related products be removed from store shelves at the hall and replaced, possibly with artistic works of the victims of the incident.
"These would be appropriate steps" to address the concerns of victims' families, said Lee Hui-sheng (???), another board member of Taiwan 228 Care.
"I thank Minister Cheng Li-chiun for her courage to confront an adversarial educational environment that exists in Taiwan," Lee said.
"To us (family members of the victims), transitional justice is something that must be done and we hope President Tsai Ing-wen (???) will make good on her promise in this regard."
The group's CEO, Yang Chen-lung (???), said it is high time Chiang's "personality cult" was removed and his proper historical status was established.
All sorts of ideas regarding how to transform the memorial hall, including one to make it the nation's legislative building, could be discussed, Yang said.
Many believe Chiang was behind the government's crackdown on the local population related to the 228 Incident that, according to a previous investigation commissioned by the Cabinet, left 18,000 to 28,000 people dead.
The incident was triggered by a bloody clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel