Taipei, The government's ongoing push for transitional justice is intended to ensure Taiwanese can live in a censor-free society without fear of ever again being punished by an authoritarian government, President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday, during a memorial ceremony to mark the 72nd anniversary of the 228 Incident.
Speaking at the ceremony in Taipei's 228 Peace Memorial Park, Tsai said as she arrived at the park, she saw many young children and their parents enjoying a day off thanks to the national holiday.
The administration is pushing to implement transitional justice to ensure all Taiwanese live in a censor-free society "where people can read whatever they like and express their views without fear of being taken away by police in the middle of the night," she said, as happened to many during the brutal crackdown on an anti-government uprising in 1947 and the decades-long White Terror era that followed.
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 then-Kuomintang (KMT) military 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.
Since Taiwan became a democracy, its governments have made a series of efforts to implement transitional justice, including admitting wrongdoing, issuing apologies to victims of the incident, launching investigations and paying compensation, Tsai noted in her address.
This is an ongoing process as the government works to identify more potential victims of the 228 Incident who were previously unrecorded, and will issue a new report later this year on the crackdown, she said.
The Memorial Foundation of 228 has already compiled a list of 400 people who may have been victims of the 228 Incident but whose families have yet to file for compensation, Tsai said. "This shows that we still have an insufficient understanding of the truth of that history."
Meanwhile, the president said, she does not subscribe to the view that such efforts are made as a means for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to score political points.
"Every democratic country has to face the wounds of authoritarian rule. Psychological and emotional trauma will not heal itself," she said.
These measures are intended to serve as a reminder that the same mistakes will not be made again, she said at the ceremony attended by 228 Incident victims and their families.
At Thursday's memorial event in Taipei, people lined up to pay tribute to the victims, laying lilies on a monument in the park.
Among the participants at the event was a four-man parliamentary delegation from Germany headed by German-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Klaus-Peter Willsch.
Attending the event was a show of respect to the victims of the 1947 incident which ultimately paved the way for freedom, democracy and rule of law in Taiwan, Willsch told CNA.
Promoting transitional justice has always been important for his country and Germany can work closely with Taiwan, Willsch said.
During his last visit in May 2018, Willsch said he was accompanied by Germany's Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records Agency Roland Jahn to share his country's experience in this area with authorities in Taiwan.
The agency preserves and protects archives, and investigates the past actions of the former Stasi, which served as a secret police, and foreign intelligence organization under the communist party ruled German Democratic Republic or East Germany.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel