228 Anniversary

Taiwan enters a moment of solemnity today with the sixtieth anniversary of the 228 Incident. This violent event in 1947 marked the onset of nearly four decades of White Terror. Thousands of people on the island disappeared through imprisonment or execution.

It has only been since 1992 that the 228 Incident could be discussed here at all. Until that year this episode in Taiwan's history was treated as the 1989 Tienanmen Square Massacre is treated in China: officially, the event never happened. Families could not mourn or even speak of members who vanished. Yet few families in Taiwan were untouched by loss. None were untouched by fear.

Today the names of the victims can be said out loud. A 228 Peace Park stands near the Presidential Palace and a 228 Memorial Museum stands on its grounds. Each year families gather to acknowledge the loss of loved ones. In a solemn ritual, representatives of these families receive, in person from Taiwan's president, a certificate from the government that absolves all members of the family from any implication of wrongdoing.

These sites provide more information about this event in Taiwan's history.

Eyewitness accounts
George H Kerr
Formosa Betrayed (1965/1992)
The account of an American who served as vice consul at the U.S. consulate.

Allan James Shackleton
Formosa Calling: An Eyewitness Account of the February 28th , 1947 Incident (released 1998)
The account of a New Zealander who served as Industrial Rehabilitation Officer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
Contemporary Reports
Tillman Durdin. 'Formosa Killings are put at 10,000.'
New York Times, 1947 March 29.

Peggy Durdin. 'Terror in Taiwan.' The Nation. 1947 May 24.
The 228 Massacre as documented in the US media
Internet sources
Wikipedia: 228 Incident

Jerry Griffin
Yale 1962: 'Real Life Real Time History' (2004)
Missionaries' accounts of protecting dissidents during the White Terror

Wikipedia Commons:
228 Incident of Taiwan, 1947
Historical images, art, images of victims and witnesses.

Green Island Adventures: 'A Modern History of Green Island'

Flickr photo set: Oasis Prison, Green Island

Loa Iok-sin: 'New documentary... the 228 Incident and the White Terror era through the eyes of the victims'
Taipei Times 2007.02.09
Official sources
Taiwan: Government Information Office, ROC

Taipei 228 Memorial Museum
Anniversary News
BBC 2007.02.27: 'Anniversary of deadly Taiwan riot'



Michael Turton said...

Great resources, man. I gotta get a link here.


Alton Thompson said...

An honor, Michael. Thanks for paying a call.

For anyone who may need an introduction, Michael Turton maintains the blog A View from Taiwan--a news omnibus and editorial site that is required reading for all expats here. You'll find a link to Michael's blog at the left.