onsdag 28. februar 2024

‘Facing up to history’: relatives of Taiwan’s 2-28 massacre victims demand official reckoning

Lin Li-cai was only two years old when her father was murdered. She knew almost nothing about his death until she was an adult. “There used to be a picture of my father hanging in the living room, but I didn’t even know who it was,” says Lin, now 80.

She has no memory of the events and throughout her childhood his death was mentioned just twice. The first was when her uncle warned her: “Don’t talk about what happened to your father, otherwise the police will come get you.” The second was in elementary school when a teacher saw the date of his death on her file, and told Lin she would have to study and work very hard.

Sitting in a quiet room of a museum dedicated to people like her father, Lin is hard of hearing but speaks confidently. As she speaks, her hands unconsciously rifle through a folder containing documents and photos of her father. He was a victim of Taiwan’s 2-28 massacres, a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests by troops of the Kuomintang (KMT) Republic of China government in 1947, which had been given control of Taiwan after Japan was defeated in the second world war.