This week in Taiwan’s History

Feb. 23 to Feb. 28

By Tang Hsiang-yi  /  Staff reporter with CNA

Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 12


Diplomatic ties severed; non-political ties grow

1960: Taiwan establishes diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cameroon on Feb. 23. Diplomatic ties remained steady until 1971, when the central African country switched its recognition to China. Currently Cameroon maintains no representation of any kind in Taiwan.

1975: Taiwan and South Africa sign a trade agreement on Feb. 26. Two-way trade grew rapidly in the early 1970s due to strong South African exports of maize. The two countries established formal ties in 1949, but diplomatic relations ended in 1998 when South Africa recognized China. Trade relations continue through the Liaison Office of South Africa in Taiwan. The Ministry of Economic Affairs ranked South Africa the 30th total trade partner in 2013.

1990: Taiwan and El Salvador sign a joint communique for closer bilateral cooperation on Feb. 26. The communique calls for increased economic exchanges in agriculture, industry, culture and sports. The Central American country has been one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies since 1961.


228 becomes national holiday

1997: The Legislative Yuan passes an amendment on Feb. 23 designating Feb. 28, also known as Peace Memorial Day (和平紀念日) or 228 (二二八), a national holiday.

An amendment was made to Article 4 of the Act for Handling and Compensation for the 228 Incident (二二八事件賠償及處理條例), which was enacted in 1995, to compensate victims and their surviving relatives. The 228 Incident refers to the anti-government uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, which was violently suppressed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government. The estimated number of deaths varies from 10,000 to 30,000. The incident also led to the suppression of political dissidents, known as the White Terror (白色恐怖), during the period of martial law from 1949 to 1987.

Taiwan’s first no-confidence motion fails

1999: Eighty-two legislators of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and the New Party propose a no-confidence vote against Premier Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) on Feb. 25 to protest his endorsement of a cut to the stock transaction tax. The motion marks Taiwan’s first no-confidence vote. On March 2 the same year, the motion failed with 142 lawmakers out of 225 voting against it.


Advocate of vernacular Chinese dies

1962: Hu Shih (胡適), essayist, philosopher and diplomat, dies on Feb. 24 in Taipei at the age of 72. His advocacy for the use of written vernacular Chinese rather than scholarly classical Chinese in literature earned him the title Father of the Chinese Literary Renaissance (中國文藝復興之父). During the May Fourth Movement (五四運動), Hu was one of the leaders to argue for vernacular Chinese as a written medium for both scholarship and general communication, which paved the way for the era of mass literacy.

Hu fled to Taiwan after the Chinese Communists won the civil war in 1949, and became president of Academia Sinica, a position he held from 1958 until he passed away. His tombstone was set up in a park named after him near the research institute.

King of Formosan pop passes away

2010: Singer Hung Yi-feng (洪一峰), known as the “king of Formosan song” (寶島歌王), dies of cancer on Feb. 24 at the age of 82. Hung was a singer and prolific song writer. His popular titles such as Memories of an Old Love (舊情綿綿), Formosa Mambo (寶島曼波) and The One I’m Missing (思慕的人) remain KTV standards. In his music, Hung incorporated features of Japanese enka, a form of sentimental ballad music, which reflects Taiwan’s colonial history.


Far Eastern aircraft crashes

1969: Far Eastern Air Transport (遠東航空) Flight 104, a short-haul flight using a Handley Page Dart Herald passenger aircraft, crashes in what is today Greater Tainan during an emergency landing 10 minutes after taking off from the then-Kaohsiung City, killing all 36 people on board. Mechanical failure is believed to be the cause.


‘Life of Pi’ tops Oscars with four wins

2013: Ang Lee’s (李安) Life of Pi wins 4 Oscars, claiming awards for musical score, cinematography, visual effects and best director.


World’s oldest Asian elephant dies

2003: Lin Wang (林旺), the world’s oldest Asian elephant in captivity, dies of cardiopulmonary failure on Feb. 26 at the Taipei City Zoo at the age of 86. The ROC military acquired Lin Wang from Japanese prisoners of war in Myanmar during World War II. He was honored for carrying military supplies during the war. In the early 1950s, Lin Wang was retired to the Taipei Zoo, becoming a main attraction.