Feb 28, 2018 Medical & Health Care Comments Off on Indigenous people call for transitional justice on 228 anniversary
Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Members of indigenous rights groups lit beacon fires in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Wednesday to demand transitional justice for indigenous peoples in Taiwan.
"Every year, the Han people call for transitional justice on the anniversary of the 228 Incident. The indigenous people would also like to voice our expectations for transitional justice on this day," Kai Limadjakan (???), convener of the Indigenous Youth Front, told CNA.
Dozens of participants threw bundles of silvergrass into a fire on Ketagalan Boulevard to create smoke, mimicking the indigenous tradition of sending smoke signals to notify nearby villages of an emergency so that they can lend assistance, Limadjakan said.
Last year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs allowed local cement producer Asia Cement Corp. to extend its mining operations in Hualien's Xincheng Shan for another 20 years, even though that land was taken unjustly from the indigenous Truku people during the authoritarian period, she said.
Indigenous people from Bsngan village, where Asia Cement Corp. is located, sent out similar smoke signals on Wednesday to highlight the controversy surrounding the extension of the company's mining rights, she said.
Limadjakan said much land belonging to indigenous people was stolen during the Japanese colonial period, and when the Kuomintang government took over from the Japanese, it did not return that land.
"Transitional justice has yet to arrive for the indigenous people of Taiwan," she said.
The beacon fire-lighting on Wednesday was part of an event to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the 228 Incident-- an anti-government uprising and the subsequent brutal crackdown in early 1947 that left tens of thousands of people dead or imprisoned.
The event - called the Gongsheng Musical Commemoration - also featured performances by local musicians and bands, short lectures and an exhibition on the history of the 228 Incident.
Dozens of civic groups set up booths on Ketagalan Boulevard to raise awareness of a wide range of human rights issues, such as China's imprisonment of Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che (???).
Hsu Hsiang-pi (???), organizer of the music event, said the theme of this year's Gongsheng Musical Commemoration is "where are the murderers" because many perpetrators of the 228 Incident, including military officials and police, have not yet been identified.
"An important part of transitional justice is finding and punishing the perpetrators," he said, urging the government to make more documents related to the 228 Incident available to the public.
The 228 Incident was triggered by a clash between government officials and a cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947. The officials beat the vendor in front of the Tianma Tea House and as an angry crowd gathered, a bystander was killed when one of the officials opened fire.
The incident led to an islandwide anti-government uprising that was brutally put down by the then KMT government.
In 1992, an Executive Yuan report estimated 18,000-28,000 people, many of them members of the intellectual elite, were killed during the crackdown, which lasted for several weeks into early May.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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