Three books about 228 Incident launched ahead of 73rd anniversary

Taipei The Memorial Foundation of 228 on Sunday launched three books that document information related to a civil uprising in Taiwan that started in Feb. 28, 1947 and spurred a bloody government crackdown.

The three books The Puzzle of the 228 Incident, The Oral History of the Battle of Wuniulan and Beyond 1947: A Non daily Memoranda recount aspects of the 228 Incident, each from a different perspective, and were launched to mark the 73rd anniversary of the incident.

The Puzzle of the 228 Incident, by Academia Historica President Chen Yi shen (???), is a compilation of major research findings and theses pertaining to the 228 Incident.

The Oral History of the Battle of Wuniulan is a collection of 27 interviews of eyewitnesses and descendants of victims, conducted by Lin Wei sheng (???), a history associate professor at the National Chi Nan University, and several other people. It focuses on the battle between revolutionists and the ruling Kuomintang troops in Wuniulan, now Ailan in Nantou, shortly after the 228 Incident.

At the book launch at the National 228 Memorial Museum, Lin talked about the challenges he encountered getting the interviews, saying that 73 years after the incident, many survivors and witnesses are still afraid to talk.

Some of the people who were interviewed for the book also spoke at the ceremony, giving snippets of their stories.

Liao Kuo yang (???)said he was born after his father died in the Wuniulan battle, and when his birth was registered, his uncle was named as his father for fear of government reprisal.

Another interviewee Chang Yang hao (???), who also lost his father in the battle, recalled seeing bodies piled in the town plaza after a fierce fight.

The third book, Beyond 1947: A Non daily Memoranda, is a series of eight articles written by a team of history researchers who give a contemporary perspective on aspects of the 228 Incident, drawing on material from the national archives, oral history and academic studies.

The three books are written in Chinese and have no English translations.

At the launch, chairman of the memorial foundation Hsueh Hua yuan (???)said the continued search for truth behind the 228 Incident will deepen the values of democracy and human rights in Taiwan and give its people spiritual strength to deal with external threats.

The foundation will continue to collect and release the names of possible victims of the incident and hopes to achieve information breakthroughs with the aid of new technology, he said.

The 228 uprising was triggered by a clash between six inspectors from the Provincial Monopoly Bureau and an elderly female cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947. The inspectors pistol whipped the vendor as they tried to confiscate her smuggled cigarettes. As an angry crowd gathered, a bystander was shot dead when one of the officials opened fire.

According to an Executive Yuan report issued in 1992, some 18,000 to 28,000 people, many of them members of the intellectual elite, were killed during the subsequent government crackdown, which lasted into early May 1947.

The period after the 228 Incident and into 1987 was known as the "White Terror" era, as it was a time when political dissidents were suppressed, imprisoned and killed, while the country was under martial law.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel