Chiang bears ultimate responsibility for 228 Incident: scholars

2017/02/23 22:08:24 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深, left)

Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深, left)

Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) A document dated March 2, 1947, requesting the dispatch of at least a regiment of troops to put down the 228 Incident, which was read and approved by late president Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975), is evidence that Chiang should be held personally responsible for the crackdown, a scholar said in Taipei on Thursday.

The fact that Chen Yi (陳儀), then chief of Taiwan Province, and Peng Meng-chi (彭孟緝), a major-general in the Kaohsiung garrison, were promoted after the crackdown demonstrates that Chiang has ultimately responsibility for the crackdown, during which about 20,000 people were killed, said Chen Yi-shen (陳儀深), an associate research fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica.

Chen made the statement at a panel held to launch six more volumes of the "Collected Files of the 228 Incident" published by Academia Historica in Taipei.

The 228 Incident was triggered by a clash between government officials and an illegal cigarette vendor in Taipei on Feb. 27, 1947. The event quickly turned into an anti-government uprising and was put down by then Nanjing-based Kuomintang (KMT) government in mainland China.

An estimated 18,000 to 28,000 people were killed during the crackdown, which lasted into early May, according to an investigation commissioned by the Cabinet in 1992.

The six volumes, Vol. 19-24 in the series, include files about the incident from the Presidential Office, Changhua County government and former Taichung County government.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has promised to publish a report on transitional justice within three years and ordered the collection of government documents detailing political and other persecutions, said Wu Mi-cha (吳密察), director of Academia Historica.

The National Archives Administration has identified about 13,000 cases relating to the 228 incident and political persecution, said Wu.

Tsai said her administration has an obligation to determine the full truth of the incident in an open and transparent manner so that responsibility can be more accurately apportioned.

Documents relating to the 228 Incident include a telegram issued on March 6, 1947 released in 1992 and two others dated Feb. 28 and March 4 released in 2008, said Chen Tsui-lien (陳翠蓮), a professor of history in National Taiwan University.

However, the March 2, 1947 telegram from Chen Yi, which was referenced by later documents, makes it clear that Chiang was aware what Chen was planning to do, said Chen Tsui-lien.

A report on the 228 incident published in 2006 said that Chiang was primarily responsible for the crackdown, with Chen Yi and Peng directly responsible for the behavior of troops in Taiwan, said Chen Yi-shen.

The document released as part of the newly published files offers more evidence as to the accuracy of the 2006 report, said Chen.

A cult of personality is not proper in a democracy and on that basis alone National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (CKSMH) should be re-designated as either a national human rights museum or a memorial museum for former presidents of the Republic of China, said Chen.

(By Sophia Yeh and Kuo Chung-han)
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