Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

228 Remembered/Feature: Move Keelung’s 228 monument, victim’s family says

By Lin Hsin-han and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A monument marking the 228 Incident at Keelung’s Chung Cheng Park is pictured on Feb. 27 last year.

Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Taipei Times

A 228 Incident monument in Keelung’s Chung Cheng Park should be moved to Keelung Port, where it would have more historical significance, a family member of a victim said.

Chou Chen-tsai (周振才), whose grandfather, former Keelung City Council deputy speaker Yang A-shou (楊阿壽), was a victim, said the monument would only be meaningful if it is placed near the port, where Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) soldiers fired at a crowd upon arriving by boat from China.

The 228 Incident began in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947, when Tobacco Monopoly Bureau agents confiscated contraband cigarettes from a woman, Lin Chiang-mai (林江邁), outside Tienma Tea House (天馬茶房) on Nanjing W Road.

A crowd surrounded the agents after one of them hit the woman on the head with a gun. The agents then fired into the crowd, killing a bystander. Anti-government protests erupted the following day and began to spread throughout the country. The KMT dispatched the army’s 21st Division from China to subdue the unrest.

Troops arriving in Keelung on March 8 began firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters with machine guns, and oral accounts by survivors say the harbor and Tienliao River (田寮河) were turned red with blood by the end of the shooting. By March 16, when the assault ended, about 2,000 people were reportedly killed.

Ho Pin-ju (何聘儒), a high-ranking administrative officer of the 21st Division, wrote in his memoirs that troops arriving at the port mounted guns on the boats and began firing at the crowd even before docking.

“Many people had their heads blown off, their legs broken and their internal organs strewn across the ground. Even pregnant women and children were unable to escape the slaughter,” he wrote. “When we docked in the evening, there were traces of blood everywhere around the pier.”

Notable among those killed in Keelung were Yang Kuo-jen (楊國仁), the son of Yang A-shou; Yang Yuan-ting (楊元丁), another Keelung City Council deputy speaker; Badu (八堵) Railway Station station master Lee Tan-hsiu (李丹修); and physician Kuo Shou-i (郭守義).

Many hundreds of other victims went unnamed as soldiers strung their bodies together with metal wiring stabbed through their palms and threw them into the river.

Some were thrown into the water while still alive: One of those who survived was Lin Mu-chi (林木杞), who passed away in 2005.

In an interview with the historian Chang Yan-hsien (張炎憲), Lin said he was strung together with eight other men, blindfolded and dragged down to the water.

The soldiers then fired at the nine and threw them into the water, Lin said, adding that he had not been shot, but was pulled into the water by the weight of the other victims.

After freeing himself from the others, Lin swam to shore.

Taiwan 228 Incident Care Association director-general Yu Hsiang-yao (游祥耀) recounted a story told by a survivor, who had a neighbor operating a Japanese-style public bath.

When a soldier came, the neighbor tried to tell the soldier to wash first before entering the bath, in Japanese fashion, but the soldier responded by yelling at him in a dialect he did not understand. The next day, the soldier returned to the bath, dragged the bathhouse boss into the street and shot him.

Chou said he has visited all 228 monuments in the nation, but thinks they are often too abstract and fail to evoke the massacre in people’s minds.

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