Anniversary of Deadly Taiwan Riot

February 28, 2007 at 10:55 am | Posted in 228, China, News, Politics, Taiwan, 台灣, 台湾, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國, 二二八 | 1 Comment


Caroline Gluck in Taipei, Feb. 28 2007 BBC News

Commemorative events are being held throughout the week as Taiwan marks the 60th anniversary of what is known as the “2/28 incident”. The event was an uprising that began on 28 February 1947, sparked by the beating of a female vendor by authorities for selling untaxed cigarettes. Between 18,000 and 28,000 people are said to have been killed in riots and a subsequent crackdown.

Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Kuomintang, or Chinese Nationalists – then based in mainland China – ordered his troops to Taiwan to quell the riots. Two years later, he and his supporters fled to the island after losing to the Communists in the Chinese civil war.

For decades, when Taiwan was under martial law, the massacre was a taboo. Even in recent years, the incident remains highly sensitive and politically divisive. It touches on issues that are the most hotly debated in Taiwan: national identity and tensions between native Taiwanese and mainland-born Chinese. The passing years have done little to heal the pain for the relatives of those who were killed or disappeared…

“It was March 12 1947 at noon. Five young men came to my house; they said ‘we [want to] ask you about the newspaper company’; it was a very short conversation. My father left with them but never came back.

“For years we couldn’t talk about it. My mother was very scared; worried that government police would come back to arrest us.” Only decades later did she learn from an eyewitness that her father was shot by soldiers. She also discovered, after being anonymously sent official documents, that he had been falsely accused with others of plotting the 2/28 incident and being a member of the Chinese Communist Party. To this day, no government department has acknowledged he was arrested…

It’s of utmost importance that younger generations are educated of this tragic event to prevent similar atrocities from happening in the future, which would also help them put into perspective exactly how much Taiwan’s democracy has progressed. I believe the KMT must take up responsibility for the massacre that occurred on Feb. 28 1947 as well as for the systematic execution of various community leaders and intellectuals that followed the incident. Furthermore, the KMT should also grant historians access to its archives to determine once and for all the level of involvement Chiang Kai Shek had with the order to send in the military to quell the riot.

With that said, the DPP should refrain from exploiting the 228 Incident for election and political purposes, which would only further divide the Taiwanese people and throw the country into deeper chaos. On the other hand, the DPP should also acknowledge the fact that a substantial number of the victims of the 228 Incident were actually Mainland-born Taiwanese, who were attacked by local Taiwanese during the riot. Therefore, in essence, both sides were at fault. If the truth must be told, then the people should be entitled to all the facts, not just bits and pieces, which by themselves, have little or no value given that they would merely serve as propaganda material for the KMT and the DPP.


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  1. Obnoxious Jewess.

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