Wed, Feb 28, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Hardline academics blame Japan for 228 Incident

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Contrary to claims that Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) should be held accountable for the 228 Incident, a group of academics said yesterday that the Japanese colonial government's scheming was to blame for the violence.

A recent official report concluded that Chiang should bear responsibility for the incident, and on Monday President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) called Chiang the "true killer" in the violence.

But Academia Sinica fellows Chu Hung-yuan (朱浤源) and Huang Chang-chien (黃彰健) and four other academics called a press conference yesterday to challenge this portrayal of Chiang.

"The incident took place when Taiwan had just been handed over by Japan to China. As Japan was reluctant to give Taiwan over to China, it used economic measures to cause inflation and food shortages before it left," Chu said.

Chu said that Taiwan's economic situation -- which created resentment against the government from China -- was the result of Japan's premeditated economic attack on Taiwan.

The academics also criticized former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for saying that "government suppression was the main cause of the 228 Incident."

"What Ma said was contrary to the facts. The government had no choice but to send in the army to suppress the violence launched by the people," Huang said.

In other developments, Independent Legislator Li Ao (李敖) told a press conference yesterday that the "sadness of the 228 Incident was created by politicians."

"The Democratic Progressive Party has been saying that tens of thousands of people died in the incident. Only about 800 people died at that time," he said.

He said the executive administrator of Taiwan at the time, Chen Yi (陳儀), had sent a confidential telegram to Chiang to say that the death toll in the incident was about 800.

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