Tai­wan apol­o­gizes to abo­rig­i­nals for suf­fer­ing

Lesotho Times - - International -

TAIPEI — Tai­wan’s pres­i­dent has apol­o­gized on be­half of the gov­ern­ment to the is­land’s abo­rig­i­nal peo­ples for 400 years of con­quest and col­o­niza­tion, say­ing the fac­ing of dif­fi­cult his­tor­i­cal facts was nec­es­sary for so­ci­ety to move for­ward.

Tsai Ing-wen said her gov­ern­ment wished to “take a fur­ther step” and of­fer its “fullest apol­ogy.”

“If we wish to de­clare our­selves as a coun­try of one peo­ple, we need to face these his­tor­i­cal facts. We have to face the truth. Most im­por­tantly, the gov­ern­ment must truly re­flect on it­self and that is why I’m stand­ing here to­day,” Tsai said at a cer­e­mony at the pres­i­den­tial of­fice build­ing in the cap­i­tal, Taipei.

A “jus­tice and his­tor­i­cal jus­tice com­mis­sion” would be es­tab­lished to deal with the prob­lems of the past, Tsai said. She was speak­ing on Tai­wan’s of­fi­cial abo­rig­i­nal peo- ple’s day be­fore rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the is­land’s 16 of­fi­cially rec­og­nized native tribes.

Tai­wan was in­hab­ited by a va­ri­ety of tribes for thou­sands of years be­fore Dutch col­o­niz­ers be­gan im­port­ing Chi­nese la­bor­ers in large num­bers dur­ing the mid-17th cen­tury.

The Dutch were ex­pelled from the is­land by Chi­nese pri­va­teer Koxinga, whose suc­ces­sors were then de­feated by the Manchu Qing dy­nasty as part of their con­quest of most of China. It was loosely ad­min­is­tered from the main­land un­til be­com­ing a prov­ince in 1885 un­der for­eign pres­sure and was made a colony by Ja­pan in 1895.

At the end of World War II, Tai­wan was handed to Chi­ang Kaishek’s Repub­lic of China, whose gov­ern­ment re­lo­cated to the is­land in 1949 af­ter be­ing driven from China by Mao Ze­dong’s com­mu­nist forces.

Tsai was elected by a land­slide in Jan­uary elec­tions that have thrown a shadow over the is­land’s re­la­tions with China, which claims Tai­wan as a part of its ter­ri­tory from an­cient times. Her view of Tai­wan as a colo­nial so­ci­ety clashes with Bei­jing’s claim that the is­land has al­ways been an in­her­ent part of China, which must even­tu­ally be re­united with the main­land, by force if nec­es­sary.

— AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.