FEBRUARY 28--AN INCIDENT???
By Kevin Anthony Stoda, Taiwan
There are many holidays in Taiwan, including regional, local, and national ones. Some change by the international calendar--others rotate on the traditional Chinese Calendar. A few years ago, as most schools and many institutions and factories were reducing the workweek from 6 days to 5 days, there were some calendar reforms here concerning holidays in the land once known as Formosa. Some traditional holidays were eliminated from the official calendar. Others were either combined or became optional holidays--much like in the USA where some states still celebrate Lincoln's birthday while most do not. Finally, some new holidays came into being.
One of those holidays is today: February 28. It is called 228 (2-28) after a so-called "incident" that led to the deaths of anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 Taiwanese in March 1947. Today it's a holiday that calls on the peoples of Taiwan to really reflect on who they are how their island has historically functioned as a land quite separate from mainland China.
According to one writer, this is the background to the events in February and March 1947. "In 1945, 50 years of Japanese rule ended, and in October the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) handed administrative control of Taiwan as a province to the Kuomintang-administered Republic of China (ROC). But one year (16 months) of KMT administration led to the widespread impression that the party was plagued by nepotism, corruption, and economic failure. Tensions increased between inhabitants and the ROC administration. The flashpoint came on February 27 in Taipei, when a dispute between a cigarette vendor and an officer of the Office of Monopoly triggered civil disorder and open rebellion that lasted for days. The uprising was violently put down by the military of the Republic of China."
In this part of the narration, the Kuomintang (KMT narration on Wikipedia) does admit that the "incident" that followed the February 27 dispute were a revolt against mainland China's corrupt occupation of the island of Formosa after WWII.