DPP aims for bill to uphold 228 Incident victims’ integrity

The China Post news staff

Comparing President Ma Ying-jeou’s remarks on the victims of the 228 Incident of 1947 to those of Nazi supporters and holocaust deniers, a legislator from the opposition the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday vowed to sponsor a bill with a view toward punishing people who violate the “human dignity” of these unfortunate people.

The proposed amendment to an existing set of regulations about these victims will call for a maximum of five years’ imprisonment for violators, said Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).

The so-called 228 Incident of 1947 was the starting point of a wave of violent anti-government movements in which government troops were deployed to put down protests across the island, killing many. The exact number of people kill varies with different accounts. In remarks made on Friday, Ma said the government should remember the historical lesson learned in order to “heal the wounds” and avoid making the same mistake again, but there was no need to dwell on the exact number of casualties. Ma’s remarks were apparently intended to pacify an uproar over remarks by former General Hau Pei-tsun, who questioned the claim that more than 10,000 were killed. Ma has repeatedly tried to blame “the government” for the incident and sidestep the question of the number of victims, Chen said in a press release.

“He is trying to hide the real identity of the culprits,” Chen said, adding what Ma said constituted an affront that hurt the victims a second time. What Ma did was tantamount to rubbing salt into the wound, and no different from what people have done on the international arena to deny established accounts of what the Nazis said and did in the last century, according to the DPP legislator, who added an account approved by the Cabinet when Hau was premier had established former President Chiang Kai-shek as the major culprit.

According to Chen, he and Li Chun-yi (李俊俋), another DPP legislator, will cosponsor a bill to amend the “Regulations on Dealing with the 228 Incident and Compensation for Victims.” If the bill clears the Legislature, people who instigate hatred against victims, people who call for “coercive” measures against such victims; violate the human dignity of victims through defamation; publicly glamorize the incident; or refute, tone down or cover up its seriousness will be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

People who publicly glorify the despotic rule under which the incident happened will also imprisoned for a maximum of three years, according to Chen.

According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been rectified by the Legislative Yuan, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law, Chen warned.