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Redressing the Injustices of the 228 Incident: Redressing Injustices against Tamkang High School

Before the lifting of martial law in the 1980s, the government's control over society gradually loosened. It could no longer suppress Taiwanese people's longing for democracy, freedom, and human rights. Social movements thrived, and the process of redressing the injustices of the 228 Incident, which had been a topic of discussion, also began.

During the 228 Incident, Tamkang High School was deeply affected. Tân Lêng-thong, the school’s principal, along with two teachers, N̂g A-thóng and Lô͘ Oân as well as a student, Koeh Hiáu-cheng, were killed during the incident. Sixty years later, in 2007, Tamkang High School established a Memorial Monument for the Victimized to honor these teachers and student who perished because of the 228 Incident. In addition to the monument, Tamkang High School also depicted the suffering of the teachers and students at that time through theatrical performances. The goal was not only to commemorate the victims but also to warn that such tragedies must never happen again.

Inscription of the Puding 228 Memorial Monument for the Victimized in Tamkang High School

In 1947, the 228 Incident occurred in Taipei City. Taiwanese people’s long-standing frustration and anger erupted into island-wide protests against political violence. In response to this cause, many young people in Tamsui joined the movement. Some radical activists entered Tamkang High School and took away rifles that had been used for military education during the Japanese colonial period. They attempted to utilize these rifles to attack soldiers stationed in suburban Tamsui. This provided an excuse for the military to implement village cleansing and political purges, in addition to framing innocent people with fraudulent accusations. Many teachers and students from our school were victimized, bearing their grievances for as long as half a century.

After the Nationalist government landed in Keelung on March 8 of the same year, they initiated armed suppression following the enactment of martial law in Taiwan. On March 10, reinforcements moved into the Tamsui area. While searching for his friend, Koeh Hiáu-cheng, a student from our school, was senselessly killed and left on the street. The next morning, the army encircled our campus, attempting but failing to search for and arrest students. They then entered the principal’s dormitory, forcibly tying up Principal Tân Lêng-thong, and shot Lô͘ Oân, a chemistry teacher who came to assist. When the army marched by the school entrance, they took away another physical education teacher, N̂g A-thóng, who stepped forward to argue with them. These two teachers were detained at the Danhai Naval Camp and transported to Keelung three days later. Their whereabouts have remained unknown ever since. On the same morning, Lin Mao-sheng, the school’s chairman, was also taken away from his residence in Taipei by the plainclothes police and has not been seen or heard from since.

Despite the various efforts made by school authorities and family members, their requests for assistance were entirely disregarded by the relevant departments. It was only after the lifting of martial law that the public realized these three individuals had been tragically killed on baseless charges.

More than six decades have passed since Tamkang High School was involved in the 228 Incident. Through this monument and its inscription, we reflect on history, mourn our teachers, honor their bloodstained sacrifice, and remember their endeavor to love and protect our school. The monument also serves as a consolation to their families who bore grief, indignity, and the agony of losing their beloved ones. Furthermore, it is a bracing reminder for all Tamkang students that we must not forget this tragic event in Taiwan’s history. We hope that people will remember the lessons of the past, amass wisdom from these experiences, and thereby cherish Taiwan more dearly. Let us transform this beautiful island into a land of true peace and joy blessed by God.

With respect,

March 10, 2007

So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord

Deuteronomy 21:9

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