Taiwan Church News
February 13 – 19, 2017
Dr Chen Yong-hsin Shares His Experiences Of Rehabilitating 228 Massacre Victims Since 1987 And His Thoughts Of Transitional Justice In Taiwan
Reported by Chen Yi-fan
Under a series of lectures, entitled as “The 70th anniversary of 228 Massacre Event: Our 228” and hosted by National Museum of Taiwan History, Dr Chen Yong-hsin, the publisher and president of Taiwan People News, was invited to deliver a speech about his participation in the social justice movement of rehabilitation for those involved in 228 massacre since 1987 and his thoughts about the transitional justice of Taiwan society on February 11.
Within his speech, Dr Chen retrieved how a rehabilitation movement for 228 massacre was launched in 1987. In their first press conference, as Taiwan was still under an administration of martial law then, their many proposals to the government, like opening the official files of those murdered victims, setting February 28 as a national commemoration day, or editing the 228 massacre event into the textbook, were all criticized as mission impossible, Dr Chen said, adding that their each assembly to speak out their voices would be surrounded by those riot police and troops, and even some their co-workers were assaulted at Changhua area.
“When I was a kid, most of my elder families even would not dare to mention about this tragic 228 massacre. Taiwan had a population about 6 millions in 1947, based on the statistics that the murdered population then was over 20 thousands, it could be inferred that one in every 300 people was killed by the government’s troops. In other words, roughly every clan-family got one victimized in the 228 massacre. That’s a horrified experience penetrating into a whole family”, remarked Dr Chen.
Not only Taiwan society was abhorrently gripped by such a great fear and chaos generated in 228 massacre, what’s more devastating emerged after KMT’s ruthless ruling with social cleansing and martial law: many bright Taiwanese students chose to study abroad and stay overseas, as the opportunities of social choice were all exploited by KMT regime, observed Dr Chen.
Dr Chen lamented, ” As a psychiatric myself, I think the 228 massacre is a critical event having a great impact upon the souls of the Taiwanese. And it’s a very unhealthy culture, as we are traditionally cultivated in the past 70 years, to discipline the children to behave in absolute compliance without questions, never care about the politics, and trust nobody except the people in our same ethnicity.” Taiwan still has lots of spaces and potentialities to proceed the jobs of reformation, as the people’s sufferings are also the sources of our power, expressed Dr Chen.
Translated by Peter Wolfe
Dr Chen Yong-hsin shares his experiences engaging the social movement of rehabilitating 228 massacre’s victims and his thoughts of transitional justice in Taiwan in a lecture, held by National Museum of Taiwan History, on 11 February, 2017.
Photo by Chen Yi-fan