Feb 28, 2017 Market Comments Off on Premier commemorates 228 Incident, advocates social reconciliation and unity
Lin Chuan today marked the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident by attending a memorial ceremony at the Shoushan armed forces base in Kaohsiung, emphasizing that government efforts towards transitional justice are dedicated to bringing about true reconciliation and unity in Taiwan society.
These efforts will help bring the truth to light, he said, emphasizing that openness and transparency are essential to developing mutual trust and cooperation. A civilized nation must courageously face the darkest chapters in its own history, and this process is essential for the maturation and deepening of democracy in Taiwan.
On behalf of the Executive Yuan, the premier also expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased. He then said that the 228 Incident has had a profound effect on Taiwan society, inflicting tremendous pain on the victims and their families. Its aftermath has cast a pall over society, suppressing public participation and democratic development and becoming an obstacle to ethnic reconciliation and social trust.
With Taiwanese society becoming more open and democratic over the last three decades, civic groups and government organizations have investigated and published numerous reports on the events of 1947, the premier said. The government has issued official apologies to the victims, established monuments and commemorative museums, organized exhibitions, declassified and released documents to the public, and designated February 28 as a national memorial day. A special law and memorial foundation have also been set up to compensate victims and help clear their names. The public and private sectors, each in their own way, are trying to heal the Incident's historical wounds.
Many aspects of that period will require deeper understanding and clarification, Premier Lin said. President Tsai Ing-wen's administration has already taken several steps to pursue transitional justice, with the following achievements:
1. In additional to passing the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations on August 10, 2016, the Executive Yuan established the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee. As of February 15, the committee had received 292 reports and petitions, and will investigate all cases within its jurisdiction.
2. The administration is working to declassify political files, as they preserve important records and resources regarding Taiwan's democratic development. But many files concerning the authoritarian era have yet to be made public. The Executive Yuan therefore approved a plan last year, scheduled for completion in three years, to identify, collect and collate these materials. The National Development Council's National Archives Administration has declassified all the files it has collected and archived, and will start analyzing, indexing and digitizing them beginning on March 1. These efforts will help promote government and private sector research, preservation of historical relics, and educational programs regarding transitional justice.
3. Last December the Executive Yuan declared April 7 as Freedom of Speech Day, to be celebrated every year in honor of the late civil rights activist and publisher Cheng Nan-jung for his contribution to the development of freedom and democracy in Taiwan.
Based on the official and private materials it gathers, the administration will publish an investigation report on national transitional justice that will include a section dedicated to the 228 Incident, the premier said, and will also continue to amend and enact the relevant laws. Following discussions between the Executive Yuan and the ruling party's legislative caucus, it was decided on February 23 to make transitional justice legislation a priority for the current legislative session. Once the bill clears the Legislative Yuan, the government will establish an independent dedicated agency to handle tasks related to transitional justice.
The premier emphasized that it took 70 years before everyone could gather at this historic site, without fear or distrust, and stand together to commemorate and confront the collective pain of the past. No words can ever express the pain and suffering of the survivors, he said, and no amount of compensation can ever bring the innocent back to life. But the blood and tears of the past will not be shed in vain, because the suffering of those who came before is validated when a country becomes more democratic and more open, and the next generation enjoys greater freedoms and human rights.
Source: Executive Yuan
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