Taiwan Church News
February 24 - March 2, 2014
Church Mnistry News
The 67th Anniversary Of 228 Massacre: We Can Forgive, But Would Never Forget
Reported by Chen Yi-Shuan / Chu Kuo-rong
To commemorate the 67th anniversary of the tragic 228 massacre, happened across Taiwan island in end February of 1947, many PCT local churches, affiliations, presbyteries and even local governments held memorial services in different cities, urging Taiwan public stick to the ideals of restorative justice to absolve the longstanding hatred within ethnic groups and bring forth the truth and peace one day.
In the night of February 23rd, the 228 memorial service around Cha-yi area was held at Shaing-Her Presbyterian Church. Rev. Chao Jen-er, pastor of West Gate Presbyterian Church in Cha-yi Presbytery, pointed out that the Taiwanese people have to take up history seriously, which meant to analyse and understand the 228 event in details, then we Taiwanese can become an awakened people. Just like the event of Corporal Hung's abuse event last year, 200,000 people poured out of street to demonstrate against the government. This is not a contingent and emotional event, but a kind of conscientious awakening.
Many victims of 228 massacre and their families also attended the memorial service, including Mr. Kao Yi-sen, a famous musician of Tso aboriginal, who was brutally killed in 228 massacre when he endeavored to fight for the rights and autonomy for his aboriginal people. His son, Kao Yin-Jeh, and families played his famous lyric, Haru no Sahohime which meant the goddess of spring, commemorating him in the service. Kao Yin-Jeh, representing Kao's families, expressed his deep appreciation of PCT's long term accompaniment, which is earlier than any other Taiwan social groups, incessantly comforting and standing by their families in the past 67 years. Kao believed, though justice and peace are not fully realized, more and more people would come to care and concern this tragic event like PCT.
Tsai Min-hsein, former Defense Minister, delivered a speech emphasizing Taiwanese should abide by the teachings of the Bible as Prophet Micah said: to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God, since our forebears had done a great sacrifice in this bloody massacre. Tsai sharply criticized the cowardice of KMT authorities, still afraid to publicize the related documents and persecute the criminals of the 228 event, contrasting America's apology to the America-born Japanese captive in concentration camp during WWII and German government's apology for the Nazi Holocaust genocide. Quoting an advise from the German theologian Bonhoeffer, who reminded his contemporary German people to avoid pursuing "cheap grace": personal health, good family, prosperous business and etc, Tsai urged Taiwan Christians to realize God's Words by participatory actions.
Cha-yi Magistrate Chang Hwa-guan, who attended this service by herself, remarked that current Taiwan politics seems chaotic and backslide into the days of white terrorism. "Except commemorating (228 massacre), we should stop to figure out what is the next stop of Taiwan. We should move forward again for the fairness and justice!", Magistrate Chang said.
At the end of the memorial service, every attendant was given a rice ball and a sweet olive sprout. The rice ball is to remember those young students' brave action who sent food for the civilians standing off with the army and police during the 228 conflict; the sweet olive sprout is originated from the poem, This Day Let Us Plant A Tree, written by Taiwanese poet Lee Ming-yon recited to commemorate at the 50th anniversary of 228 massacre.
Associated with Chi-shin Presbytery, Taipei Presbytery and West-Amis Presbytery, PCT Church and Society Committee held a musical memorial service at Taipei East Gate Presbyterian Church in the afternoon of February 23rd to commemorate the 228 massacre.
Rev. Chang Chau-tong, Moderator of Chi-shin Presbytery, gave his sermon titled as "Build Up A Society Of Justice And Peace". Since it has passed 67 years, Chang questioned why there is still no truth revealed? No murders prosecuted? If no murderer is to be convicted, how to make the victims and families of 228 massacre and Taiwan society to forgive? This equals to no peace, no justice! "If the government could not publicize the related documents of 228 massacre and brutally political assassination cases clearly, like the murder cases of Lin Yi-hsiong's families and Dr. Chen Wen-chen, how can it protect and the people?", asked Rev. Chang.
Mr. Lee Hsin-chan, son of the 228 massacre victim - Lawyer Lee Rei-han, pointed out that the Taiwanese have to unite and stand together to break the colonial ruling of KMT. Besides, the Taiwanese have to speak the mother tongues, as this is the vessel carrying the spirit of Taiwanese. "I can speak Mandarin. But, after the occurrence of 228 massacre, I swore not to speak Mandarin in my life anymore. I would only speak the Taiwanese and the English, as I am a Taiwanese", said Lee.
The Youth Choir of Chung-san Presbyterian Church was also invited to sing some lyrics to commemorate the 228 event. On performing their last song, There Is Love In This Land , a banner of "I Love Taiwan" was raised up behind this youth choir. At this moment, the audience were touched and the applause exploded into the climax.
Translated by Peter Wolfe
Former Defense Minister, Tsai Min-hsien, admonished the audience about the danger of the "cheap grace" and urged the Christians to realizel God's Words by participatory action.
Photo by Chen Yi-shuan
Youth Choir of Chung-san Presbyterian Church offered their most wonderful sound and wish to God with a banner of "I Love Taiwan" raised behind them.
Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong