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?