Ex-president says research into 228 Incident should continue

Taipei--Observing the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident, former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) indicated that the pursuit of historical facts relating to the bloody anti-government uprising should continue as long as new information is uncovered.

"The search should naturally be continued, in a non-partisan manner," Ma said on Monday during a visit to the National 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei.

Ma said his government had worked to heal the wounds of victims' families, by acknowledging fault, apologizing, providing compensation, erecting monuments to commemorate the dead and designating a national holiday to mark the incident.

Efforts had also been made to uncover the truth behind the incident in 1947, said Ma, a member of the Kuomintang (KMT), the political party that led the Republic of China government which took over Taiwan from Japan in 1945 after 50 years of colonial rule.

Responding to calls to punish those responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people during the period of "White Terror" that followed the 228 Incident, Ma said that as late President Chiang Kai-shek (???) was the country's leader at the time, he "should naturally be held accountable."

As to the extent of Chiang's responsibility, Ma urged people to study information available in the public realm and make their own determination.

Referring to Chiang as a historical figure, Ma said the former KMT chairman had his merits and faults while ruling Taiwan. "If we are to understand him fully, we need to be aware of both his merits and faults."

He suggested people refrain from jumping to hasty conclusions, that could trigger unnecessary conflict in the country.

However, there was just such a clash earlier in the day when Chen Yi-shen (???), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of Modern History, released his new book on the incident.

The 228 Incident was triggered by a clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947. The event quickly turned into an anti-government uprising and was put down by the then-Nanjing-based KMT government in mainland China.

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.

The book release was disrupted when scuffles broke out between supporters and opponents of Chen's depiction of events after a speech delivered by Wellington Koo (???), chairman of the Cabinet-level Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee.

The protesters, who identified themselves as members of the Anti-Japanese Taiwanese Peoples Association, blasted politicians and academics supporting the ruling Democratic Progressive Party for "using dead spirits as political capital."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel