Tearing Down Dictator’s Bronze, Taiwan Builds a New Country as a Healing from 228 Massacre


Taiwan Church News

3507 Edition

27 Feb ~ 5 March, 2023

Headline News

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong fromTaipei
Translated by Peter Wolfe

On February 28, under the theme of The 7th 228˙0 Commemorative Action, a long parade of more than 50 civil groups, including the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, Come to Speak Taiwanese Together: Sńg Kah Oh Màmà Ho Boh, Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Covenants Watch, Taiwan Forever Association, Judicial Reform Foundation, and 2020 Kids Love Taiwan Learning Center and etc, took to the streets in Taipei City.

Starting from the “Tianma Tea House”, through the “Taipei Branch of Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau” and “Taipei Broadcasting Bureau”, and finally arrived at the flashing point of the massacre “Governor’s General Office” (now the Executive Yuan). Broadcasting in Taiwanese and Hakka languages, a list of 228 massacre victims was read aloud. This parade called people to think about the pains brought forward by the 228 massacre, and remind Taiwan society that the wounds need to be healed even after time has passed 76 years.

In the afternoon on Feb 21st, a press conference, themed with a core ideal as “Dismantling Authoritarianism and Building a New Country”, was held by the Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute. The host called for a thorough removal of the 228 perpetrator’s bronze (refering the bronze of Chiang Kai-sheik) and the toxic relics of KMT colonial cultures. So that the descendants perpetrator of the 228 massacre will not be allowed to become the head of the government again.

The declaration statement of this commemorative action stressed that Taiwan society should clean up the pernicious cultures after a long-term colonial ruling of the Nationalist(KMT) ROC government, and instead rebuilt the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Taiwanese society.

In front of the Executive Yuan, the commemorative action event applied sign languages to read Chen Ming-ren’s poem, “1947’s Cold Spring”, to express the silent but indignant voices of the victims, their families and Taiwanese society. At the same time, lawyer Li Sheng-hsiong, elder of the Yi-Kuang Church of Chi-Hsin Presbytery, was invited to speak about the 228 massacre history. Rev Omi Wilang, secretary of the Indigenous Mission Committee of the PCT General Assembly Office, led the people to pray for Taiwan.

Hoping that Taiwan will finally harvest the most beautiful flowers in her traumatic history and become a new and independent country on that very day, the participants were invited to join into the dance via simulating the last act of the dance “Catharanthus roseus(Changchunhua)” choreographed by Tsai Jui-yueh Dance Research Institute.

Ms Kuo Run-ting, chief organizer of the parade, protested that the textbooks of the Republic of China still educated our children that the 228 massacre was mere conflicts between the government and the public, and it was simply triggered up due to a criminal investigation and confiscation of smuggled cigarettes.

This rough and insufficient explanation kept so many Taiwanese far away from the truth, said Ms Kuo, it is a disgrace to the Taiwanese people that the 228 Massacre Commemoration Assembly in Taipei City was hosted by Mayor Chiang Wan-an, a descendant of the 228 perpetrator. Instead of continuously talking about “transitional justice”, she urged the public to tear down the authoritarian perpetrators of the ROC colonial ruling, so that the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights can be really rooted in Taiwanese society.

(Photo/Chiu Kuo-rong)

Mr Hsi Yi-hsiang, general secretary of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, said that from the 228 massacre to the period of White Terror in 1950s, it was a long and painful history of serious violations of human rights. After the family of the 228 victims refused to show up on the same stage with Mayor Chiang Wan-an and his political bandits, Mayor Chiang still expressed the most arrogant, conservative and reactionary arguments to resist the transitional justice: for example, his remarks such as let’s forget the past, Taiwan society must look forward, and even his shameless demand toward 228 massacre victims to make peace with the group that committed the horrendous state violence.

Mr His said, the reason why people took to the streets on Febrary 28 is that KMT has not sincerely apologize for their cruel state machine brutalities that had been stained with countless blood, and even give their despicable kowtow to current Chinese communist party, which also heinously violates human rights, suppresses Tibet, Hong Kong, and commits genocide against Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Ms Chang Shiao-ya, board director of “Come to Speak Taiwanese Together”, said that last year was the first time she participated in the 228 massacre parade, and it was the time she consciously realized that she had never taught her children about the stories about 228 massacre. This is because during her days of grown-up, school textbooks never taught 228 massacre, not even a small piece of this historic tragedy was revealed.

She said that Taiwan shall never be colonized as the Chinese, never be the Chinese politically, and never be the Chinese culturally. “The Taiwanese shall have a history of Taiwan, and we shall use the languages that belong to Taiwan to write down the soul of Taiwan country”, said Ms Chang.