Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 28, 2014
228 Hand-in-Hand Rally in 2004

228 Hand-in-Hand Rally in 2004

February 28, 1947: Thousands die in the 228 Massacre. The Japanese had ruled Taiwan for fifty years, but that ended when World War II came to a close. In October 1945, the United States on behalf of the Allied Forces, gave temporary administrative control of Taiwan to the Kuomintang (KMT) Republic of China (ROC) under General Order No. 1. During Japanese control of the island, many Taiwanese had prospered. Japan had used the island as a supply base and improved economic conditions for the locals. The Japanese were seen as helpful and many Taiwanese adopted Japanese names and practiced Shinto. Many were also bilingual.

When the Chinese were given temporary control, many Taiwanese were resentful. The ROC was to provide stability until a permanent solution could be found. Chen Yi was the Governor-General of Taiwan and arrived on October 24, 1945. The next day, Ando Rikichi, the last Japanese governor, signed a formal surrender document which made Taiwan part of China. The KMT troops were initially welcomed but the heavy-handed administration and apparent corruption in the government and the military brought great dissatisfaction. Because of mismanagement, the black market flourished, there was runaway inflation, and food shortages.

On the evening of February 27, 1947, a Tobacco Monopoly Bureau enforcement team went to a district in Taipei and confiscated illegal cigarettes from a 40-year-old widow. She resisted and slapped a man holding a gun who struck her in the head with his pistol. The Taiwanese came to the widow’s defense and as the altercation escalated, shots were fired. A crowd began to protest this treatment and the following morning, violence erupted into a full riot. The fighting back and forth calmed and flared over the next several weeks. Chen Yi and his troops eventually got control of the island once again, but thousands (conflicting numbers are given) had been killed in the fighting or executed.

For many years it was taboo to talk about this event at all. Chen Yi was himself executed by the government and families were compensated for their losses. However, this did not appease those who had been victimized by the Chinese troops. In 2004, on the 57th anniversary of 228, the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally was held. It was a demonstration of solidarity. A human chain was formed with about two million people (1.9 to 2.3 million depending on the source) forming a 500 km or 310 mile human chain. Starting at the harbor at Keelung, Taiwan’s northernmost city, the chain wended its way to Eluanbi, Pingtung County at the southern tip of the island. The purpose was dual in nature. The Taiwanese wished for peace, but they were also protesting the deployment of missiles by the People’s Republic of China aimed at Taiwan, their island neighbor.

Free nations of the world cannot allow Taiwan, a beacon of democracy, to be subdued by an authoritarian China. – Nick Lampson

The public weal requires that men should betray, and lie, and massacre. – Michel de Montaigne

It is hard, I submit, to loathe bloodshed, including war, more than I do, but it is still harder to exceed my loathing of the very nature of totalitarian states in which massacre is only an administrative detail. – Vladimir Nabokov

Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind. – John F. Kennedy

Also on this day: Dord – In 1939, the unknown word DORD was found in Webster’s Dictionary.
B&O Railroad – In 1827, a law was passed to form the B&O Railroad.
Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen – In 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H was televised.
Betrayal – In 1844, an explosion aboard the USS Princeton shocked the nation.

Get Out

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 7, 2012

Map of Formosa

September 7, 1652: The Guo Huaiyi Rebellion begins. Dutch Formosa refers to the Dutch colonial period of Formosa, what is known today as Taiwan. The name Formosa means “Beautiful Island” and the paradise is located off the southeast coast of mainland China. The island is 245 miles long and 89 miles wide. There is evidence of human settlement dating back 30,000 years. About 4,000 years ago, farmers came from China to the island and these immigrants are believed to be the ancestors of today’s indigenous people.

The Dutch arrived in Formosa in 1624 during their Age of Exploration. The Dutch attempted to trade with China in 1601, unsuccessfully, since the Chinese were already trading with the Portuguese. The Dutch attacked the Portuguese, again unsuccessfully. Since they were unable to get a foothold on mainland China, the Dutch settled on Formosa. They began to take control of the land and punish natives who resisted. Their control grew and the Dutch gained allegiance of the natives, sometimes out of fear of the consequences should the natives resist.

Other European nations were also expanding trade routes and the Dutch had to contend with them as well. After ousting the Spanish, their own power base was improved. By 1643, the Dutch were encouraging the Chinese to come to the island. The Chinese arrived and worked hard only to find excessive taxation and licensing fees taking their earned monies. Corruption among the Dutch also angered the Chinese farmers.

Guo Huaiyi was a sugarcane farmer and militia leader. He and his followers stormed Fort Provintia, protected only by a bamboo wall. The attackers were armed with bamboo spears, but still managed a rout. The Dutch fled and took refuge in the stable, the safest building in the compound. Many Dutch were captured and killed before finding refuge. The next morning, 120 Dutch musketeers came to rescue their trapped countrymen. On September 11, the two sides clashed in the countryside and the rebellion was quashed by the superiorly armed Dutch. Remnants of the rebel army were killed, often by natives who had sided with the Dutch.

As beautiful as simplicity is, it can become a tradition that stands in the way of exploration. – Laura Nyro

Any people attempting to govern themselves by laws of their own making, and by officers of their own appointment, are in direct rebellion against the kingdom of God. – Orson Pratt

It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause. – H. L. Mencken

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots. – Barbara Ehrenreich

Also on this day:

Ann and Andy – In 1915, a patent is granted for the making of a rag doll.
She’s Gone – In 1911, Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested for an art theft.
Not Soccer – In 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened.