Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2-28 is here to stay

February 28, 1947, known as 2-28 has been referred to as the 2-28 Incident, the February 28 Massacre and Taiwan's Holocaust. It is a date that refers to the Kuo Ming Tang's murderous rampage of tens of thousands of Taiwanese (up to 30, 000 according to some accounts). The date also marks the beginning of 40 years of martial law imposed by the Kuo Ming Tang in Taiwan.

Now it's just a national holiday to some, and sadly the complete significance still alludes many in Taiwan, but perhaps that'll change since February 28 has been recognized as a holiday. It's been a long hard struggle of recognition.

I've found vague reports on 2-28 and its road to becoming a national holiday.

Most sources have stated that in 1995 a 2-28 memorial monument was errected in the newly renamed 2-28 Peace Park in Taipei, which was formerly named the Taipei New Park and 2-28 was called a Peace Memorial Day.

According the Government Information Office of ROC (Taiwan):

"In 1997, Peace Memorial Day was elevated to the status of a national holiday after the Legislative Yuan amended the February 28 Incident Disposition and Compensation Act. [O]n February 25 and the president promulgated the revised legislation on the same day."

But February 28 has apparently had a pretty precarious existence as a national holiday. According to the Taiwan Communique (in 2001):

"Earlier this year [2001], the DPP government took a peculiar step backwards when it decided to change the status of the day from formal public holiday to memorial day. The discussion took place in the context of the implementation of a shorter workweek. Under pressure from business and industry the government was reviewing existing public holidays which could be "downgraded."

Fortunately, the decision to change the status of public holidays does require legislative action. However, the cabinet was late in notifying the Legislative Yuan, and the Kuomintang-dominated legislature was too busy trying to impeach the President in the Nuclear Four power plant case. So, this year 228 was still an official public holiday, but if the Taiwanese people don't speak up, next year it won't."

This year, for the first time, flags flied at half-mast at schools and government offices in observation of this holiday. Here's the Taipei Times report on February 28, 2006.


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