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Feb 12, 2007

228 vs. The Nanking Massacre

As February 28th approaches, it's time for Taiwan to talk about massacres. 2-28 marks the date where a police clashed with a woman selling cigarettes (illegally, since the KMT held a monopoly). A mob chased the police, they fired into the crowd while running for their lives, and an island-wide riot followed. That led to a crackdown that has been called the white terror or the martial law period, depending on who you ask.

This is always a bad time for the KMT's image, though the party chairman Ma Ying-jeou has gone to some effort to meet with victims and their families in recent years. As I recall, he even cried last year.

Coincidentally, recent revisions in various high school textbooks provide little or in one case no information on the Nanking Massacre. The Blues (in particular, two legislators who held a press conference today (洪秀柱、郭素春)) have seized on this to turn the tables: it's the Greens that want to forget history and white-wash the actions of brutual, militarist invaders.

Let's be honest about a couple things: old people are gonna get really worked up in Taiwan about 2-28 and young people hardly have any idea what happened. Same goes with the Nanking Massacre for mainlanders. They hate the Japanese for that, while Taiwanese don't really have negative feelings towards Japan on the whole.

And the fact that the KMT can't just face up to 2-28 for what it was makes things all the more depressing.

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