In Commemoration of the 66Th Anniversary of the 2-28 Massacreby Former Representative Robert E. Andrews
Posted on 2013-02-28
of new jersey
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to observe the 66th
commemoration of Taiwan's 2-28 Massacre. The Massacre was an anti-
government uprising in Taiwan that began on February 28, 1947 and was
violently suppressed by General Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalist
Kuomintang (KMT) government during the following weeks. Estimates of
the number of deaths are around 28,000.
In the fall of 1945, 50 years of Japanese occupation of Taiwan ended after Japan had lost World War II. In October of that year, the KMT- administered Republic of China (ROC) received administrative control of Taiwan. 16 months of KMT administration on Taiwan led to the widespread impression among the people of Taiwan that the party was plagued by nepotism, corruption, and economic failure.
Tensions increased between the Taiwanese people and the ROC administration. The flashpoint came on February 28, 1947 when in Taipei a dispute between a female cigarette vendor and an officer of the Government's Office of Monopoly triggered civil disorder and open rebellion by the native Taiwanese against the KMT repression.
During the following weeks, Chiang's government sent troops from China to the island. The Chinese soldiers started to round up and execute a whole generation of an elite of Taiwanese lawyers, doctors, students, professors etc.
It is estimated that up to 30,000 people lost their lives during the turmoil. During the following four decades, the Chinese Nationalists continued to rule Taiwan with an iron fist under a Martial Law that would not be lifted until 1987.
Mr. Speaker, the Massacre had far reaching implications. Over the next half century, the Taiwanese democracy movement that grew out of the event helped pave the way for Taiwan's momentous transformation from a dictatorship under the Chinese Nationalists to a democracy.
In some ways, the 228 incident was Taiwan's Boston Massacre for both events functioned as the cradle of a move by both peoples to full democracy and helped galvanize the strive to independence.
Mr. Speaker, I have said it before: Freedom is not negotiable. May the lessons learned from the 2-28 Massacre continue to inspire the people of Taiwan in their struggle for freedom, full independence, international participation, and for the continued enhancement of the mutual relationship between Taiwan and the United States.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me today in commemorating this important historical event.