Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2/28 in Taiwan

On the issue of official apologies for past war crimes and attempts at truth and reconciliation, there is a movement in Taiwan for the Nationalist Party (KMT) to formally apologize for human rights abuses during its control over Taiwan, especially for the "2/28" incident, in which it reportedly killed several thousand Taiwanese citizens. There have been a flurry of articles on this issue lately in the Taiwan press, but here is an example. Given the fractious nature of Taiwan politics, it is tempting to see this cynically, as a DPP attempt to regain the public's favor after recent scandals, but no matter how the public views the issue, it's an interesting example of the difficulties of effecting reconciliation decades after the fact. Most of the principals responsible for policy at that time are dead--notably Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek)--and differing memories make it difficult to know exactly what happened that day. The main questions remain: who needs to apologize--and pay out--and who should accept the apology?

1 comment:

Erin Robinson said...

I think the Taiwan case is an interesting comparison. For Korea, it's the Korean people and government calling for an apology from the Japanese government, which today is a very different entity than it was during the war. The constitution is not the same, the individuals are not the same, all of that. On the other hand, in Taiwan, it is the president calling for an apology not from the government, but from the KMT specifically. Chiang Kai-shek may be dead, but his party is very much existant. Therefore, does Chen have a better case for making the KMT apologize, than Korea does for making the LDP-led government of Japan apologize?