Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Speaking on behalf of victims' families at an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident in Tainan on Tuesday, Wang Ke-shao (王克紹), son of a victim of the incident, said what the families want is the truth and rehabilitation of their loved ones' reputations.
Wang was a baby and his brother a toddler when their father Wang Yu-lin (王育霖), a prosecutor, was taken away by soldiers on March 14, 1947, following a clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor on Feb. 27, which led to an anti-government uprising and a brutal crackdown.
Wang has never been told when or how his father died.
Tu Shih-wen (凃世文), another descendant of a 228 Incident victim, said in Kaohsiung that his 35-year-old father Tu Kuang-ming (凃光明) was one of a group of citizens' representatives who went to negotiate with a military commander in the southern city, resulting in his death, but his body was never returned to the family.
Hsu Su-hua (許素花), 83, said in Pingtung County that her father Hsu Chao-yi (許朝意) was taken away in a military vehicle. The family only learned about his death when his name appeared on a list of "criminals" who had been executed, said Hsu.
An estimated 18,000 to 28,000 people were killed during the military crackdown, which lasted into early May, according to an official investigation report in 1992.
Tseng Chung-ying (曾仲影), a 94-year-old film score composer, said at a commemorative event in New Taipei that he was a radio broadcaster in Taipei at that time after graduating from Xiamen University in Fujian Province.
"I was arrested for no reason and was investigated to determine if I was a communist," Tseng said, adding that he was detained by the military in early March 1947, his eyes covered with a strip of black cloth and his hands tied behind his back for 11 days.
Tseng was thrown in jail for about two years for "participating in a criminal group and disrupting public order."
He later became a composer and his songs were sung by famous Taiwanese opera performer Yang Li-hua (楊麗花).
Tseng has said that many misunderstandings contributed to and resulted in excruciating experiences for many, but said he had no hatred after so many years.
He also said that although it is the right thing to do to commemorate this period of history, society will pay too high a cost if doing so creates more struggle and strife.
Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said in Kaohsiung that the administration will search, compile and edit unpublished government documents from the period of authoritarian rule, when the Republic of China (Taiwan) was under martial law from 1949-1987, within three years and publish a report on transitional justice.
All works on transitional justice must seek to disclose the truth and courageously face our dark history, which is necessary for our democracy to become mature and will facilitate reconciliation and a more united country, said Lin.
Commemorative events were also held in Hualien, Changhua, Yilan, Yunlin counties, Keelung City, and Taichung and Taoyuan.
(By J.H. Chang, Sunrise Huang, C.C. Kuo, H.F. Lee, and Kuo Chung-han)