The interfaith prayer gathering at the 53rd anniversary of 823 Artillery Bombardment
Religions in Taiwan have prayed for peace in the country and the world on the 53rd anniversary of the 823 Artillery Bombardment and the centenary of the Republic of China. An interfaith prayer gathering on August 23 was initiated by the Buddha’s Light International Association at the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center in Kaohsiung. More than 30,000 leaders and faithful attended the gathering. They included the retired and incumbent bishops of Kaohsiung -- Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi and Archbishop Peter Liu Cheng-chung. The 823 Artillery Bombardment refers to a battle in which the People’s Liberation Army of Communist-ruled China fired more than 470,000 shells at Kinmen island and nearby islets, territories of Taiwan close to the mainland’s Fujian province, over 44 days beginning August 23, 1958. This was the second large-scale cross-straits military confrontation since 1949, the year when the Communists took over mainland China and the Nationalist Party withdrew to Taiwan. In his address, President Ma Ying-jeou said it took more than a decade to ease tension across the straits after the 823 Artillery Bombardment and the tension in those days had been “a nightmare for all.” With efforts of both Beijing and Taipei governments, cross-straits relations are now moving in the direction of peace, he said.