Survey suggests Chiang should take blame for 228

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mon, Feb 26, 2007 - Page 1

Claims that dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was personally responsible for the notorious 228 Incident will not disturb ethnic harmony, the results of a poll released yesterday indicated.

Nearly 61 percent of those polled in the Taiwan Thinktank survey conducted on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 said it was acceptable to place the blame for the massacre on Chiang, while about 28 percent did not.

The 228 Incident was an uprising against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government sparked on Feb. 27, 1947.

Almost 48 percent of respondents also said commemorating the incident would not affect ethnic harmony, while nearly 44 percent said it would. About 47 percent of respondents said efforts to uncover the truth behind the incident were insufficient, while 36 percent disagreed.

Yao Jen-to (姚人多), an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University, said it was worth noting that a majority of respondents said ethnic tension was a serious problem.

Whereas in 1997 only 18 percent of respondents felt this way, nearly 57 percent of this year's respondents said ethnic tension was a serious problem. The figures in 2003 and 2004 were 32 percent and 56 percent respectively.

Yao said that as the distribution of social resources was quite equitable, ethnic tension in Taiwan was not as bad as in some other countries.

Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), an assistant research fellow in political science at Academia Sinica, said that ethnic tension might be the result of political infighting rather than a legacy of the 228 Incident.

Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元), dean of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan History at National Chengchi University, agreed, saying that ethnic tension usually escalates during election periods when politicians try to arouse the passions of their constituents.

However, he said that uncovering the truth behind the 228 Incident would help to improve ethnic harmony.

Chen Chun-kai (陳君愷), a history professor at Fu Jen University, concurred. As most respondents did not think pointing the finger of blame at Chiang would disturb ethnic harmony, Chen said it was time to debunk the myth of Chiang. Roads or buildings named after him should be renamed and statues of the former dictator removed, Chen said.

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