Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Via Salon.com, yesterday I learned about the February 28, 1947 massacre in Taiwan.
The 228 Incident or 228 Massacre was an uprising in Taiwan that began on February 28, 1947 and was suppressed by the Kuomintang (KMT) government, resulting in between ten thousand to twenty [or 30] thousand civilians killed. [This] event is now commemorated in Taiwan as Peace Memorial Day. Official government policy had repressed the education of the events until recently, for various reasons. Many of the details of the incident are still highly controversial and hotly debated in Taiwan today.

After 50 years of colonial rule by Japan [and] two years of administration by the Republic of China, nepotism, accusations of corruption and a failed economy increased tensions between the local Taiwanese and ROC administration. The flashpoint came on February 27, 1947 in Taipei when a dispute between a female cigarette vendor and an anti-smuggling officer triggered civil disorder and open rebellion that would last for days. The uprising was quickly put down by the military of the Republic of China.

Violence finally flared the following morning on February 28. Security forces at the Governor-General's Office, using machine guns, fired on the unarmed demonstrators calling for the arrest and trial of the agents involved in the previous day's shooting, resulting in several deaths. Formosans took over the administration of the town and military bases on March 4 and used the local radio station to caution against violence. By evening, martial law had been declared and curfews were enforced by soldiers in trucks firing at anyone who violated curfew.

An American who had just arrived in China from Taihoku said that troops from the mainland arrived there on March 7 and indulged in three days of indiscriminate killing and looting. For a time everyone seen on the streets was shot at, homes were broken into and occupants killed. In the poorer sections the streets were said to have been littered with dead.

"There were instances of beheadings and mutilation of bodies, and women were raped," the American reported.

For several weeks after the February 28 Incident, the rebels held control of much of the island. Though the initial uprising was spontaneous and peaceful, within a few days the rebels were generally coordinated and organized, and public order in rebel-held areas was upheld by temporary police forces organized by local high school students. Local leaders soon formed a Settlement Committee which presented the government with a list of 32 Demands for reform of the provincial administration. They demanded, among other things, greater autonomy, free elections, surrender of ROC Army to Settlement Committee and an end to governmental corruption. [Feigning] negotiation, the ROC authorities under Chen Yi stalled for time while assembling a large military force on the mainland in Fujian province. Upon arrival on March 8, the ROC troops launched a crackdown. By the end of March, Chen had jailed or killed all the leading rebels he could identify and catch. His troops reportedly executed [between] 3,000 and 4,000 people throughout the island. [Some] of the killings were random, while others were systematic. Local elites were among those targeted, and many of the Taiwanese who had formed home rule groups during the reign of the Japanese were also victims of the 228 Incident. A disproportionate number of the victims were also Taiwanese middle and high school age youths, as many of them had volunteered to serve in the temporary police forces that were organized by the Committee and the local town councils to maintain public order following the initial rebellion. Several sources have claimed that ROC troops were arresting and executing anyone wearing a student uniform. Conversely, mainlanders were targeted by the rebels and many were killed. [The] initial purge was followed by repression under one-party rule, in what was termed "white terror," which lasted until the end of martial law in 1987.

I see a disproportionate and ruthless action of the ROC government. Could all nepotic corporate governments be like this given circumstances?

Salon.com refers to George Kerr, a former American vice-consul in Taiwan who personally witnessed the events, and wrote the book "Formosa Betrayed". The current news is that Kerr's original report about the events has been scanned and available on the internet. Here is a citation of the events since mainland troops arrived, if you dare to read:

   Beginning March 9, there was widespread and indiscriminate killing. Soldiers were seen bayonetting coolies without apparent provocation in front of a Consulate staff residence. Soldiers were seen to rob passersby. An old man protesting the removal of a woman from his house was cut down by two soldiers. The Canadian nurse in charge of an adjacent Mission Hospital was observed bravely to make seven trips under fire into the crowded area across the avenue to treat persons shot down or bayonetted, and once as she supervised the movement of a wounded man into the hospital the bearers with her were fired upon. Some of the patients brought in had been shot and hacked to pieces. Young Formosan men were observed tied together, being prodded at bayonet point toward the city limits. A Formosan woman primary school teacher attempting to reach her home was shot in the back and robbed near the Mission compound. A British business man attempting to rescue an American woman whose house was being riddled with machine gun fire from a nearby emplacement was fired upon and narrowly escaped, one bullet cutting through his clothing and another being deflected from the steering gear of his jeep. Another foreigner saw a youth forced to dismount from his cycle before a military policeman, who thereupon lacerated the man's hands so badly with his bayonet that the man could not pick up his machine ...

    By March 17 the order of seizure or execution seemed to have become, successively, all established critics of the government, Settlement Committee members and their aides, men who had taken part in the interim policing of Taipei, middle school students and teachers, lawyers, economic leaders and members of influential families, and finally, persons who in the past had caused members of the Government or their appointees serious loss of face. On March 16 it was rumored that anyone who spoke English well or who had close foreign connections was being seized "for examination," and that many Japanese technicians in the employ of the Government were being taken.

Is this a government, or a high society mob?

by das monde on Tue May 22nd, 2007 at 11:24:38 PM EST

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