For all the people that have a TV set connected to the cable of something alike and that have zapped along channels 50-55 should have seen the bashing SET is getting for misplacing a footage of a public shooting of alleged communist citizens in Shanghai, 1948, in a documentary about the 228 incidents and the killings in Keelung harbour.
KMT hubris tops SET TV’s gaffe
2007-05-11 12:51 AM
Numerous special programs and documentaries on the tragic February 28th Massacre of 1947, in which at least 10,000 Taiwanese were butchered by military forces of the autocratic Chinese Nationalist Party regime, were aired in the days around the 60th anniversary of the 228 incident.
Such programs and films reflect our society’s belated efforts to delve into the facts and come to grips with the consequences of 228, after six decades under the principle that full exploration of the truth is an essential precondition to reconciliation in our society.
However, the need for professional rigor in the search for the truth was shown this week by a sharp controversy over a five-part documentary “228 After 60 Years,” broadcast in late February by SET TV cable station, after the pan-blue United Daily News ran stories Tuesday claiming that SET TV had “fabricated” footage of KMT military police shooting civilians in Keelung.
In fact, as the UDN correctly noted, the famous film footage of KMT military police executing suspected communists in public that the documentary has used took place not in Keelung in March 1947, but on the streets of Shanghai in August 1948.
The UDN exposure of SET TV’s error was followed by angry claims by KMT lawmakers that SET TV’s false reporting had slandered the KMT as well as “stirred up ethnic antagonism,” and they are now demanding SET TV cease broadcasting to “make amends for its crimes.”
Ultimately, SET TV Editor-in-Chief Chen Ya-lin belatedly and correctly apologized Wednesday for the error, which she insisted was made out of ignorance of the true nature of the footage.
Interested readers can view the documentary (available on various Web sites (blog.roodo.com/yingshe/archives/ … l#comments) and judge for themselves whether the KMT has been slandered.
We do not.
Despite its imperfections, the SET TV series is generally true to historical reality in its account of the 228 tragedy, sensitive and moving in its depiction of the experiences and sufferings of its victims and enlightening in its discussion on the implications of 228 for Taiwan’s past, present and future.
A major imperfection is the repetition throughout the program of the Shanghai footage, along with unidentified film of debatable relevance, such as footage of Nazi Holocaust victims and concentration camps, ships and crowd scenes and frequent use of “dramatizations.”
We believe that SET TV’s excessive use of such techniques is unfortunate, even though it is regrettably true that virtually no footage of 228 similar to the Shanghai film clip is available of the massacre, except perhaps, in the KMT’s own closed party archives.
It is apparent from viewing the documentary’s second section, devoted to the brutal entry into Keelung harbor of the KMT’s 21st Division and the 21st Military Police Regiment on the evening of March 8, and the massacre carried out by these troops in the port city, that SET TV editors erroneously believed that the film clip of KMT military police shooting youths in the head with pistols was filmed in Keelung.
The failure of the SET TV editors to realize that the film clip was not of KMT troops executing Taiwan youths in March 1947, but of KMT military police executing suspected communists in Shanghai the following year, displayed an almost inexcusable ignorance of both modern Chinese history and of the bitter civil war between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party in the late 1940s. However, the SET TV editors, along with most persons educated in the four decade martial law period, do have an excuse.
After all, the authoritarian KMT regime systematically used its draconian martial law, its secret police and its complete control over the educational system and the media to keep the people of Taiwan ignorant of our own history, the truth of the sordid and brutal nature of the KMT’s fascist rule in China and of the real reasons why the KMT lost the Chinese mainland to the CCP in 1949.
Ironically, five decades of this “stupify the people” policy has had the unanticipated side-effect of blinding the ranks of the KMT itself to their own ignorance and hubris.
KMT pulled the triggers
This self-imposed blindness was reflected in the obsession of the UDN and protesting KMT lawmakers over the misuse of the controversial footage and their bizarre neglect of the implications of their acknowledgement that the footage of the Shanghai executions was genuine.
The offhandedly brutal murders of several young civilians by uniformed KMT military police in public, and in broad daylight, on a busy street in China’s largest city should be sufficiently shocking and revealing of the nature of the KMT regime to outweigh even the fact that SET TV misplaced the location and time.
Such crimes of state terror in the most important urban center under KMT control revealed how the Chiang Kai-shek regime treated the people under its control and why the KMT lost the civil conflict.
Indeed, if the KMT military felt comfortable about shooting to death dissidents on the streets of Shanghai in 1948, we could hardly expect KMT troops and military police to have been more delicate in Taiwan. In any case, the men pulling the triggers in both cases were wearing KMT “white sun on blue sky” emblems and acting under the command of their ultimate “Leader.”
It is also significant that neither the UDN or the KMT lawmakers challenged the frequent use of dramatizations in the SET TV documentary of far more vicious methods of execution by KMT troops and military police in Taiwan during the suppression of the 228 uprising and the following island-wide “pacification” campaign.
These include the killing of dock workers with machine guns, executions by pistols - similar to the methods people in Shanghai were killed, the burning to death of “People’s Report” newspaper’s publisher and “228 Settlement Committee” leader, Wang Tien-teng, and the murder of 80 Patoutzu workers by tying their hands and feet with barbed wire and dumping them into the Keelung harbor after shooting them, an account buttressed by the only survivor of the murders.
SET owes its viewers an apology for its lapse in professionalism, but the KMT owes a far greater moral debt after six decades to the people of Taiwan and the people of China.
Instead of hubris, the KMT should show its sincerity to make amends by opening its archives and cease obstructing efforts by our people to find the truth and to realize transitional justice.
[/quote] from etaiwannews.com http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=447398&lang=eng_news&cate_img=logo_taiwan&cate_rss=TAIWAN_eng
It is funny how some people are arguing that the SET colluded with the GIO/DPP to show this report. It is also funny to see TVBS bashing SET for “creating news” and “trying to make the 228 appear as real”. The truth is that this is one of the few reports/documentaries ever made in Taiwan about the 228, and, most certainly, a lot more information would show up if the KMT would allow their story to be fully told. As a person who comes from a country that suffered from 50 years of authoritarian rule, it surprises me how small the information is about the post-WW2 Taiwan. Too many questions are still in the air to be answered, not only on the 228, but in all the time the martial law was upheld. Like in the Post-Pinochet Chile, many are still the ones who don’t know what happened to their loved ones (most probably taken by helicopter and dumped into the Pacific Ocean, a must in the Pinochet era). Like in Chile, the population is still divided in Anti-Pinochet and Pro-Pinochet, because most of the people are still unaware of the true. Like in many countries, Taiwan suffered from the US support of authoritarian regimes, while their where busy proclaiming democracy to the Eastern Block. All the countries that have dealt with their past are now fledging democracies, while those with black holes still hold separation and dissent. The KMT knows that unveiling the truth will mean their end, but Taiwan can never progress to be a complete democracy, while there is still parts of it’s history that cause division between people. This is not a division between ethnicities, this is a division between those who suffered and those who didn’t. That is the division that exists in Taiwan. Any attempt to play the ethnic card is just trying to put a blind in the people’s eyes.