Taiwan's 228 Incident and the Politics of Placing Blame

Craig A Smith

Abstract


On February 28, 1947, an uprising began and was followed by the massacre of thousands of ethnic Taiwanese. Although the memory of this massacre was suppressed by forty years of martial law, it has recently become an important socio-political symbol in modern Taiwan. The construction of the symbolic mythology of the 228 Incident has remade the massacre as an important historical event and a divisive tool in the political and ethnic turmoil of Taiwan. This paper examines the event of the 228 Incident and determines how the incident has been mythologized in modern political discourses due to its recently acquired symbolic status in Taiwan’s history. The paper pays particular attention to interpretations and reactions of Taiwan’s two major political parties.

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