Today is February 28th, also abbreviated as 2/28 – but to Taiwanese around the world, it is better known as “228” and formally known as “Peace Memorial Day”
60 years ago today, February 28, 1947, a Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang – KMT) soldiers beat a local Taiwanese woman for selling contraband cigarettes near the Taipei rail station. “The episode set off rioting throughout the island, which Nationalist reinforcements suppressed at the cost of thousands of lives. ” Native “elites” were also targeted as the Nationalists continued their stranglehold on the local population. Estimates of those killed range from 10,000 to 30,000.
For those not too familiar with Taiwanese history, at this time, the Nationalists were still fighting the Communists on Mainland China, before being fully defeated in 1949 and permanently escaping to Taiwan. The history of Taiwan is a complicated one. China (People’s Republic of China – PRC) maintains that Taiwan (Republic of China – ROC) is a renegade province. You can read more on Wikipedia about the “One China Policy.”