The 2-28 Monument in Taipei

This translation, along with the original version of the text are being engraved on a stone plaque (or something like that) in a park in Taipei, in commemoration of the 228 Incident.

Commemoration of 228 Incident Translation by Roselyn Ying-Yueh Hsueh and Tze-Yau William Ng Huang Carefully erected for commemoration by the February 28 Incident Memorial Foundation, February 28, 1997


In 1945, when the news arrived about Japan's defeat and surrender to the Allies in the Second World War, the Taiwanese people celebrated with joy and happiness that an end has come to the unjust Japanese colonial rule. To the surprise of the Taiwanese, however, Chief Executive Chen Yi, the KMT officer charged with the heavy responsibility of administering Taiwan, ruled with bias and discrimination. Corrupt bureaucracy, imbalance in production and distribution, rampant inflation and severe unemployment resulted to the Taiwanese dissatisfaction that bordered boiling point.

On February 27, 1947, public anger intensified when a KMT State Monopoly Bureau personnel, while patrolling for illegal sale of private tobacco, injured a Taiwanese female vendor and killed an innocent bystander. Inhabitants of Taipei demonstrated the next day in front of the CEO official residence pleading punishment for the killer. The demonstrators were unexpectedly fired at, leaving a number of them killed or wounded. A full scale confrontation ignited. In hopes of resolving conflicts and abating accumulated resentment, Taiwanese gentry from every locality formed an Incidence Resolution Committee to urge prompt mediation among involved parties and to request for political reforms.

Unexpectedly, despite joining negotiations on one hand, Chen Yi labeled the peacemakers as bandits and traitors, and asked Nanjing to dispatch troops. Without further ado and already with Taiwanese destruction in mind, the chairman of the Nationalist government, Chiang Kai-Shek, sent immediately the 21st Division of the army under the command of General Liu Yu-Ching to Taiwan on March 8. The KMT began implementing martial law throughout out Taiwan by March 10, shortly after the army's landing in Keelung. General Ko Yuan-Fen, the chief of staff of the Garrison Command; the commander of the fort of Keelung, General Shih Hung-Hsi; the commander of the fort of Kaohsiung, General Peng Meng-Chi; and the chief commander of the military police, Chang Mu-Tao, acted without due process, in crackdowns and purges which cruelly seized innocent lives. Within a few months, the number of deaths, injured and missing persons became widespread, amounting to tens of thousands. Keelung, Taipei, Chiayi and Kaohsiung suffered the highest number of casualties. This widespread holocaust came to be known as the February 28 (228) Incident.

For nearly half a century, Taiwan resided under long term martial law. The government silenced civilians. No one dared to hint at the taboo subject of 228. However, after years of accumulated grievances without reconciliation, the wrongs need to be corrected. The mistrust between new comers and the Taiwanese and the controversy of unification versus Taiwan independence are now great concerns within the hearts of the people of Taiwan. Since the lift of martial law in 1987, it has become apparent to all sectors of Taiwanese society that peace and stability could not be established, thus bringing healing to the chronic wound, without public recognition of the February 28 Incident. Amendments need to be made to the victims and their families. Research and investigation into the February 28 Incident, a formal apology from the head of the state (President T.H. Lee), compensation to victims and their families and the construction of memorial monuments are being considered. The shared devotion of all people must exist for a society to heal from a devastating trauma as this. Carving words on stones, much like a requiem, with the intention of bringing peace to the spirits of the dead, will tranquilize the sorrow and relieve the anger of the victims and their families. A closure to the 228 episode can finally befall; not without first, a lesson learned by looking through a mirror into the past. Henceforth, there shall no longer be distinctions between us and them. We must solidify into one people, help one and another through love, treat each other with sincerity and create eternal peace with an annihilation of all hatred and resentment. Heaven shall bless this island of treasures, Formosa, to prosper forever.

The February 28 Holocaust