Controversy continues over the apology that Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an offered yesterday at Taipei’s 228 Incident memorial event. Critics say his apology fell short, as he focused on his identity as city mayor and not as the great-grandson of authoritarian ruler Chiang Kai-shek. They also say he only apologized for the trigger of the massacre, and not for the brutal crackdown that followed. Amid the controversy, one KMT councilor says that Taipei should just not hold memorial events for the victims of the massacre. Her comments have sparked outrage from DPP councilors and from associations fighting for transitional justice.
Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an met with clamor from reporters upon arriving at a meeting room on Wednesday morning. One day before at Taipei’s 228 Incident memorial event, he had given a speech that did not go down well with critics.
Chiang Wan-an (Feb. 28)
As the mayor of Taipei, I would like to express my most sincere apology for the crackdown on cigarette sales near the Tianma Teahouse in Taipei’s Dadaocheng neighborhood 76 years ago, an incident that led to the 228 massacre, the pain of which has transcended history.
National 228 Memorial Museum
It was perfunctory, and he missed the main point. Did he mean to say that if there had been no crackdown on cigarette sales it would’ve been fine? Because that’s not the case, a 228 Incident would’ve broken out regardless. He’s playing down the matter, and it’s not in good faith.
The head of the National 228 Memorial Museum says the cigarette crackdown was just the tipping point. He says the real discontent came from the authoritarian KMT government’s suppression of Taiwanese people
National 228 Memorial Museum
The surname Chiang comes with certain political advantages, but it should also come with some responsibilities. I do not feel he was sincere.
Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs
The National 228 Memorial Museum is a central government entity. We respect their reading of the situation. We can’t simply say that what Mayor Chiang said was bad or wrong because of his unique status. The incident is something all leaders should learn a lesson from.
Several protesters, some more disruptive than others, made their voice heard at the memorial event. KMT Taipei City Councilor Chung Pei-chun says she will bring up a proposal to stop holding the event.
KMT Taipei City councilor
As long as these troublemakers take the day to amplify their own voices, the 228 Peace Memorial Day will remain a turbid day, as there is no way for anyone to find out what really happened. So what’s the point of making it a memorial holiday?
If Taipei stops holding its memorial event for the 228 Incident, the only thing that will happen is the people of Taiwan will think that the KMT and Chiang Wan-an do not want to face up to what really happened. What happened to transitional justice?
Memorial Foundation of 228
I understand the motive, but I think there is no need to get so nervous to the point of canceling it altogether. But it doesn’t matter. If department head Tsai Shih-ping really considers the advice from that councilor and Taipei doesn’t hold a memorial next year, we’ll hold it. We’ll do our own event.
Chung’s proposal has met outcry from DPP councilors, and even the honorary chair of the Memorial Foundation of 228. Some say that calling off the city’s event would only give rise to more controversy, and not be conducive to healing the scars of the massacre.