A group of students at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the 228 Incident by staging an art installation on campus to symbolize a horrific event in Taiwanese history, in hopes that the public can learn from the nation’s past mistakes.
Members of the student organization 02 Group (零貳社) — whose name is a phonetic translation of “protest” in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) — in the morning hung up a paper board that read “1947-2012” on the statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) on campus, and around it placed the names of victims of the 228 Massacre.
The 228 Massacre refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) bloody crackdown on demonstrators and the local elite under Chiang’s administration. On the evening of Feb. 27, 1947, a woman named Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁), who had been selling contraband cigarettes in Taipei, was beaten by agents from the Tobacco Monopoly Bureau, prompting an angry response from bystanders. Known as the 228 Incident, it sparked a nationwide uprising and KMT troops from China were ordered in early March to quell the disturbances and thousands were killed in the ensuing massacre.
The massacre killed many of Taiwan’s academic elite, members of the student group said, while the shadow of the KMT’s totalitarian repression had yet to fully disappear.
Although a series of events has been held in recent years to commemorate the Incident and ensuing massacre, and the nation’s leaders have also publicly acknowledged the mistakes of the then-KMT government in the brutal crackdown, the massacre remained disregarded in the nation’s history curriculum, they said.
“That is why we are determined to launch a commemorative event this morning,” the students said.
School authorities said in a response that the students were entitled to freely express their opinions as long they could maintain order and did not harm others.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer