TAIPEI, TAIWAN - TAIWAN President Ma Ying Jeou apologised to victims and survivors of the 'white terror' era, when Ma's party ran the island single-handedly and killed dissidents, his office and local media said on Wednesday.
President Ma made the unusual apology at a privately organised memorial ceremony in a Taipei park, playing to millions of citizens who say his Nationalist Party (KMT) has not atoned for a period in which as many as 140,000 dissidents were killed or incarcerated.
'President Ma Ying Jeou represents the government in approaching all political victims of white terror and their relatives to express the sincerest apology,' his office said in a statement. 'He also hopes a similar incident will never again happen again on Taiwan soil.'
After ruling all of China in the 1930s and 1940s, former strongman Chiang Kai-shek's KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949 following a loss of the Chinese mainland to Mao Zedong's communist armies.
Mr Chiang's government carried out the white terror campaign in the 1950s and 1960s, as officials targeted people suspected of advocating democracy, communism or Taiwan independence from China. Taiwan began to democratise in the 1980s, legalising opposition movements and freedom of expression. -- REUTERS