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Harvard Chapter Hosts 228 Massacre Vigil and Government Atrocities Panel

March 2, 2024 

At 5pm on March 2nd, more than 20 community members gathered in the Harvard Science Center Plaza despite the rainy weather to commemorate the 74th anniversary of Taiwan’s 228 Massacre. The group honored the 28,000+ lives lost with speeches, candles, and photographs of victims.

Coalition Co-Director Cosette Wu opened the vigil with the story of her great-grandfather, who was killed in the 228 Massacre. “I know the story of my great-grandfather because my great-grandmother happened to do one interview before she passed away, but the stories of thousands of other victims have been lost to state-sponsored amnesia and the passage of time,” Wu said.

Following her speech, various Taiwanese, Chinese, and Tibetan vigil attendees shared personal reflections during the open mic session. Taiwanese author of “The Third Son” and Harvard College alum Julie Wu said she was happy to see this vigil take place at Harvard, as such a commemoration seemed impossible when she was a student at Harvard.

Shortly after 5:30pm, the group moved indoors to Science Center Lecture Hall A for a panel featuring Cosette Wu, Julie Wu, former Tibetan political prisoner Ngawang Sangdrol, and Chinese human rights activist Jennifer Zeng. Ngawang Sangdrol and Jennifer Zeng reflected on their experiences in prison and a labor camp, respectively, moving the audience to tears.

“We suffered cruel torture since the invasion of Tibet. The communist China killed a million Tibetan people, including my oldest brother. The army would come inside the monastery in the night and we would hear gunshots from our bedroom,” Sangdrol said.

“Every day we have to get up at 5:30 in the morning and work, and we were forced to work until midnight. Sometimes we weren’t getting any sleep at all,” Zeng said about her experience in the Beijing Municipal Women’s Re-Education-Through-Labor Camp

Julie Wu and Cosette Wu spoke about their experiences uncovering Taiwan’s authoritarian past and shed light on the White Terror’s generational impact.

At the end of the event, attendees received 228 Taiwanese Wild Lily Pins commissioned by the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association (NATWA) and took photos for the Coalition’s #Remembering228 photo collage campaign.