Hundreds of campaigners marched in Taipei yesterday to commemorate the 228 Incident, calling for the government to officially assign responsibility for the massacre which followed a 1947 protest.
Escalating protests swept Taiwan on Feb. 28, 1947, after Tobacco Monopoly Bureau agents confiscated contraband cigarettes from a woman outside Taipei’s Tianma Tea House (天馬茶房) on Nanjing W Road on Feb. 27. When the woman was hit on the head by an officer holding a gun, the crowd surrounded the agents, who responded by fleeing with one agent shooting into the crowd and killing a bystander.
A subsequent bloody crackdown by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime systematically killed many Taiwanese.
Photo: Wang Yi-song, Taipei Times
Only partial documentation of the events and victims has been recovered, with the government-funded 228 Memorial Foundation officially recognizing more than 2,200 victims.
More than 26 groups were represented at yesterday’s march through key historic sites, but no individual banners were raised.
Campaigners solemnly read out the names of those who were killed or went missing in the Incident.
Photo: Wang Yi-song, Taipei Times
“As the victims are gradually forgotten, Feb. 28 has diminished into a holiday lacking emotion,” Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation managing director Cheng Tsing-hua (鄭清華) said. “We are still at the starting line in terms of discovering the truth, because the identities of many victims and perpetrators are unknown.”
He called for the government to hasten passage of transitional justice legislation, which would establish a special committee with powers to investigate the Incident and other injustices under the then-KMT authoritarian rule.
Government discussions over the fate of the National Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) Memorial Hall were “more symbolic than substantial,” he said.
“The victims of the 228 Incident are not just those listed, its greatest victim was Taiwan itself, including the descendants of the perpetrators,” he said. “Without the truth, we do not have the preconditions for forgiveness.”
Cheng is a brother of democracy movement pioneer Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), who in 1987 spearheaded a national campaign for Feb. 28 to be designated a national holiday shortly after the lifting of martial law.
Veteran activists Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興) and Lee Sheng-hsiung (李勝雄), who collaborated with Deng, led yesterday’s procession as it wound its way from Nanjing W Road to the Executive Yuan, where troops fired into a crowd of protesters during the massacre. The building served as the headquarters of then-Taiwan Governor Chen Yi (陳儀).
The march also passed the former site of a Tobacco Monopoly Bureau office which was sacked the same day, and a radio station building which was occupied and used to spread word of the protests.
The procession concluded with a prayer and singing while participants scattered satin flower petals over white cloth to symbolize mourning.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the