Unit 27 veteran Chung Yi-jen (鍾逸人) — the only anti-government armed resistance group at the time of the 228 Incident — said that Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) caused ethnic tensions in Taiwan by ordering the massacre.
Chung, 96, made the remarks on Sunday in an interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper).
“Chiang was the mastermind behind the collective slaughter of Taiwan’s elite,” he said.
Photo: Yan Hung-chun, Taipei Times
Chiang’s culpability is not written in standard history textbooks and his statues are displayed at many school campuses, which has led to an “aberration of moral values” in students, Chung said.
“How can there be transitional justice if a murderer is lionized as a great man of his era and the savior of the nation?” he said.
Chung said KMT apologists used then-Taiwan governor Chen Yi (陳儀) as a “scapegoat” for the massacres, when blame also belonged with Chiang.
“Numerous Taiwanese elites were killed. Chen did not have the power to make such a momentous decision. The Academia Historica [on Thursday] declassified Chen’s telegram for reinforcements, which proves that Chiang dispatched military forces to Taiwan. He later promoted and honored people like Peng Meng-chi (彭孟緝), who was given the nickname ‘The Butcher’ for his part in the massacre.”
Chung, a 26-year-old reporter with the Peace Daily before the Incident, said he witnessed the corruption of the post-retrocession KMT government.
As the killings were going on, Chung founded Unit 27 with friends from central Taiwan, including schoolmates from Taichung First Senior High School, and was appointed unit commander.
Unit 27 was defeated in an engagement on the Wunioulan plateau (烏牛欄) in Nantou County’s Puli Township (埔里) and Chung was captured and imprisoned for 14 years.
Following his release, he refused to speak about politics out of fear of spies, Chung said.
Chung said he was convinced to write and talk about his experiences by author Li Chiao (李喬), who told him: “You are a witness to history; you cannot remain silent.”
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