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Chen opens art exhibition at 228 memorial museum

Chen opens art exhibition at 228 memorial museum

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) urged Taiwan citizens to continue to deepen democracy and "bravely accept and commonly bear the burden" facing the truth of the "February 28th incident" and warned that "some people" want Taiwan society to "forget history."
Chen made the remarks during an address to the opening ceremony of "A Theme Exhibition on the 228 Massacre and Art" at the National 228 Memorial Museum (二二八國家紀念館) in Taipei yesterday morning.
The theme of the exhibition is on "Who massacred justice?" and featured numerous paintings, photographs and other visual displays on the background, course and aftermath of the popular uprising known as the "February 28th Incident" of 1947 and its subsequent suppression by Kuomintang troops. The exhibition also featured material highlighting "transitional justice" in other nations.
Chen was joined at the ceremony by Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), Examination President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), Presidential Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) and February 28th Incident Memorial Foundation Chairman Chen Chin-huang (陳錦煌), as well as over 200 survivors or relatives of "228" victims.
Speaking alternately in Taiwanese and Mandarin, Chen stated that Taiwan's "democratic pioneers had used their blood and sweat and bravely assaulted the martial law system for the sake of democracy, freedom, human rights and dignity and in hopes of laying the foundations for a peaceful and just society."
The president said that Taiwan's democratic achievements, from the lifting of martial law in July 1987 to direct parliamentary and presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power to the DPP in May 2000 "and the institution of national referendum that can truly allow the people on this island to be the masters of their own destiny" had been possible only because of the struggle and sacrifices made by democratic pioneers in the movement against KMT authoritarian rule.
The exhibition is divided into two portions, both featuring paintings, photographs, literature and documentary films as well as introductory material.
The first section concerns the background, events and impact of the February 28th Incident and the social silence that followed.
The second part of the exhibition introduces cases of genocide, state violence and human rights violations in other countries, including Armenia, Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. These included information on the process of investigations and pursuit of justice following the terrible events.
Chen stated that the "rethinking experience" in other societies "allows us to have a deeper understanding and re-examination of our pursuit of 'transitional justice,'" and the "importance of the pursuit of fairness and justice for democratic development and consolidation."
"These democratic achievements were won through the accumulated sacrifices, of lives, freedom or well-being, made by generation after generation of democratic volunteers and were absolutely not the gifts of the former authoritarian rulers."
The president related that "in our society there are still a group of people who are unwilling to face the history of the harm inflicted by the former authoritarian government and who hope that the victims will forget history."
"Only by recalling and learning these lessons can we continue to advance and deepen and consolidate democratic values," said Chen.
Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen told reporters that the president clearly was upset and moved during his tour of the exhibition.
"After seeing how other countries have used achieved considerable success in promoting transitional justice and then looking at the situation in Taiwan, how could one be in a good mood?" asked Yao, a former human rights lawyer and ex-DPP chairman.


Updated : 2021-04-21 15:05 GMT+08:00