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Home The News News Book on 228 atrocities released

Book on 228 atrocities released

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A copy of The Truth About the 228 Incident and Transitional Justice Reports is pictured at its launch at the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum yesterday.
Photo: CNA

A new book shedding light on the atrocities committed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the 228 Massacre was launched by the 228 Memorial Foundation yesterday

The book, titled The Truth About the 228 Incident and Transitional Justice Reports (二二八事件真相與轉型正義報告稿) is a follow-up to The 228 Incident: A Report on Responsibility (二二八事件責任歸屬研究報告), which was released 14 years ago and named former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) as the main culprit.

The 228 Massacre refers to a crackdown launched by the then-KMT regime against civilian demonstrators following an incident in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947.

The massacre was a tragedy caused by state violence in the form of military suppression, and was filled with “illegitimacy and abuses of power,” as well as “unauthorized actions and a state of anarchy,” the new book said.

However, most military personnel that took part in the suppression were not held accountable, it said, adding that Chiang, who covered up, rewarded, or even promoted the perpetrators, is one of the main culprits behind the tragedy.

Part of the crackdown was launched by the Nationalist Army’s navy, including a political purge at Kaohsiung’s Zuoying oil refinery, where soldiers pillaged valuable items and shot some of the workers, it added.

Chiang deployed five naval vessels to boost the troops in Kaohsiung, the book said.

About two weeks into the massacre, military police departments became the government’s intelligence agencies, which carried out summary executions of political dissidents, it said.

Su Yao-tsung (蘇瑤崇), a Providence University professor who coauthored the book, said that fewer than 45 waishengren (外省人) were injured during the crackdown, adding that many of the books about the period have “exaggerated” the number of waishengren victims.

Inaccurate reporting, such as by the Central Daily News (中央日報), the mouthpiece of the then-KMT regime, which claimed that more than 400 waishengren were injured, was used to sow fear among the public and bolster the party’s authoritarian rule, Su said.

Academia Historica editor Ou Su-ing (歐素瑛), another coauthor, said that some regional heads were also culprits in the violence, including then-Hsinchu mayor Kuo Shao-tsung (郭紹宗), Chiayi mayor Sun Chih-chun (孫志俊) and Pingtung mayor Kung Lu-tuan (龔履端).

These officials were strongly opposed to the committees established by prominent residents to deal with the massacre’s aftermath — or sent troops to crack down on them, as they feared that the existence of military agencies in their jurisdiction would put them at a disadvantage, she said.

Fifteen out of 17 regional heads at the time were waishengren, and the other two — then-Taipei mayor Yu Mi-chien (游彌堅) and Kaohsiung mayor Huang Chung-tu (黃仲圖) — were benshengren (本省人) who had connections to China, Ou said.

Most of them were KMT members and considered unfit by local residents, while some had worked under then-Taiwan governor Chen Yi (陳儀).

Foundation chairman Hsueh Hua-yuan (薛化元) said that truth is essential for transitional justice, but that a great deal of information still needs to be uncovered.

Source: Taipei Times - 2020/03/09

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Photo: CNA

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