President suggests identifying perpetrators in 228 Incident

Taipei--President Tsai Ing-wen (???) said Thursday that the government will take the lead in probing the 228 Incident and find those accountable for the tragic chapter in Taiwan's history.

The government will investigate the incident, present the truth, and pursue those who were accountable, to change the current status of "only victims, but no perpetrators," the president said.

"We will not forget (the mission), nor will we circumvent it," she said.

Tsai said she wants to let society reflect more deeply on the mistakes of the incident, learn from it and move toward reconciliation and create a "democratic, just and united nation."

The 228 Incident was triggered by a clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor on Feb. 27, 1947. The event turned into an anti-government uprising the following day and was put down by the then Kuomintang (KMT) government.

An estimated 18,000 to 28,000 people were killed during the crackdown, which lasted for several weeks into early May, according to an investigation commissioned by the Executive Yuan in 1992.

Tsai made the remarks while receiving an overseas group made up of family members of some of the victims, who were accompanied by Tien Chiu-chin (???), deputy head of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, in a closed-door meeting.

"I will instruct related government agencies to continue to sort the files from the authoritarian period, so that the truth that has been kept in the dark for 70 years will come to light," the president said.

In her address to the group, Tsai said that 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the incident, noting that Taiwan lost almost a whole generation of its elite due to the mistakes committed by the authoritarian rulers of the time, according to the news release.

"Even today, all Taiwanese are still suffering from the consequences of the 228 Incident," she said.

After Taiwan became democratic, people were finally able to openly discuss the incident, she said. The government has admitted past mistakes, apologized, set up monuments and has probed the truth.

The government has also rehabilitated the names of the victims and compensated their families in a bid to heal the past trauma.

But the president said she knows clearly that for the families of the victims, all the work done by the government is far from complete.

"We should not forget history, or our trauma," she said.

She noted that she attended a Holocaust Remembrance Day activity in Taipei on Feb. 19, and felt acutely the courage of Germany facing its historical mistakes.

She pointed out that the German government, scholars and the private sector have continued to probe the historic facts in a bid to more carefully dig out the truth, and have continued to prosecute Nazi war criminals.

She said that Germany's experience is inspirational to Taiwan, noting that the pursuit of historical truth and the preservation of history are long-term social tasks.

The government has the obligation to continue to more thoroughly probe the truth of the incident in an open and transparent manner so that the accountability of those responsible for the incident can be more clear and detailed.

She said that among the files collected by the National Archives Administration , only a few of them have yet to be declassified.

As far as she knows, four of them are files belonging to the Overseas Community Affairs Council, and the council, including its minister Wu Hsin-hsing (???) are actively coordinating and "we hope to declassify them as soon as possible."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel