Sun, Feb 19, 2006 - Page 1 News List

CNA partly responsible for 228 Incident, report says

By Luo Tien-pin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government-funded 228 Incident Memorial Foundation (二二八事件紀念基金會) is expected to release its official research report today on who should shoulder responsibility for the 228 massacre.

Apart from blaming former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and then-governor of Taiwan Chen Yi (陳儀), the report also specifically names the Taipei branch of the Central News Agency (CNA) and its director at the time, Yeh Ming-shiun (葉明勳) for sending biased secret telegrams to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government based in Nanjing, which resulted in Chiang's decision to send soldiers. According to the report, the CNA's influence was decisive, and was directly responsible for the brutal crackdown that followed the 228 Incident.

On Feb. 27, 1947, while confiscating smuggled cigarettes on Yenping N Road in Taipei City, Monopoly Bureau personnel injured a female vendor and killed a bystander by mistake, inciting a mass demonstration.

The public asked Chen for a response to the incident. Chen placated the public while secretly asking for military assistance from Chiang in Nanjing.

Chiang then sent the army's 21st Division to Taiwan on March 8, imposed martial law and began a military crackdown on civilian protests and anyone who refused to "cooperate" with the government.

Historians estimate that around 30,000 people were killed as a result of the incident.

The report said that until this day, no one has demanded that the CNA take responsibility for its role in the 228 Incident. It adds that the agency not only has to face up to its responsibility for having distorted the facts in its news reports, but the agency's employees should also be criticized for having doubled as intelligence gatherers.

The report states that a batch of original telegrams from CNA was discovered after 228-related documents were declassified in 1992. It also states that these telegrams were all written with a government and military bias, consistently reporting on beatings of new arrivals and omitting any reports of local residents being shot.

Since the CNA was an important source of information on the political situation in Taiwan for the Nanjing-based government, these reports may have had a strong influence on Chiang's decision to send soldiers to Taiwan.

In September 2003, the foundation decided to set up a team to establish the facts surrounding the 228 Incident.

The team, headed by Academia Historica President Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲), spent two years interviewing family members of 228 victims and reading large volumes of declassified documents related to the 228 Incident.

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