TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An exhibition closely comparing the 228 Incident in Taiwan with the current socio-economic and political struggles of Hong Kong opened Saturday at the National 228 Memorial Museum.
As its title “Taiwan Yesterday, Hong Kong Today. What about the future??” (過去台灣．今日香港．未來？？) suggests, the exhibition aims to examine the past turbulence of Taiwan when it was ruled by an authoritarian government, and the present situation of Hong Kong after its sovereignty was handed over to China two decades ago.
"This year marked the 30th anniversary of the lifting of Martial Law and the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident in Taiwan. In the meantime, Hong Kong has been ruled by Beijing for 20 years, and all of us are seeing the gradual loss of human rights in Hong Kong, often because of violations by government authorities," said Xue Hua-yuan (薛化元), chairman of the 228 Memorial Foundation, which organized the exhibition.
The 228 Incident represents a series of uprisings taking place across Taiwan in 1947. It first started when the Kuomintang-led nationalist government confiscated illegal cigarettes from a civilian. The conflict soon spread around the island. Workers and intellectuals who had been dissatisfied by unfair policies imposed upon them revolted against the authorities. These revolts were met by violent oppression and thousands of protesters were killed by the government.
“The installations should teach us to learn from our history. What happened in Hong Kong today cannot be repeated in Taiwan tomorrow,” said Xue.
The future of Taiwan and Hong Kong is interlinked as the two have to find their way out together, said Lin Chen-feng (林辰峰), deputy executive director of the foundation.
The organizer said there will be a screening of “Raise the Umbrellas (撐傘)”, a documentary about the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong in 2014, this Sunday with a talk afterward joined by director Evans Chan (陳耀成), Bruce Lui (呂秉權), senior lecturer of the Department of Journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University (香港浸信大學), and Lin Yuan-huei (林元輝), dean of the College of Communication at National Chengchi University (政治大學).
The Umbrella Revolution was the largest protest against the Chinese authorities seen in Hong Kong in recent years. Civil groups and citizens took to the streets to protest against China’s interference in Hong Kong’s elections for the chief executive and legislative council. The protest is said to have mobilized over 100,000 people.