lostinasia wrote:Thanks for posting about this.
How well known are historical figures like this in Taiwan? Do they show up in high school textbooks at all, for example, or are there plaques/memorials dedicated to them? He sounds admirably heroic, but I'm afraid I lack the knowledge to tell if he was a unique exception, or one of many.
Unfortunately no. Stories like these are news to me, and that's why I feel compelled to translate them, hoping more people would learn about their sacrifices.
I think a few Taiwanese victims gets mentioned in school mainly for their contribution and achievements outside of social movements and politics in general. I can only think of Tan Ting-pho (陳澄波), who would get a mention because he is also a very accomplished artist.
However, in the new Ma government led textbook revision, the few snippets that mentions 228 individual victims and white terror are edited out. There's an up-coming high school student led protest against this version of textbook on July 4th. However, current minister of MoE is adamant about implementing this new version, even though the Taipei High Administrative Court has ruled this alteration illegal.
lostinasia wrote:And I'll be thinking about the Tamsui River a little differently next time I bicycle along it.
KMT soldiers at the time strung up many untried Taiwanese people with barbed wires through their palms, and then push them into rivers or harbors. Sometimes the victims were shot before being pushed, sometimes they weren't.
Pro-KMT historians like to justify such action by saying these KMT soldiers simply viewed these Taiwanese as Japanese, and replicated what the Japanese soldiers had done during the Nanjing massacre.
However, regardless of if the Japanese really had done such act during WW2 to Chinese civilians, or whether Nanjing massacre actually happened, it was the Chinese who first did this to Japanese expats in China prior to IJA's full scale invasion of China. In an event called Tungchow mutiny (通州事件), Chinese soldiers sacked Japanese held Tongzhou, a district inside Beijing, on July 29th, 1937, and raped and tortured Japanese expat community living in Tongzhou.
From wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungchow_mutiny
Witness aid Japanese women were raped, and then decapitated. Many of their private regions were bayoneted. In some cases, women were strung up and then raped, then mutilated, some have broomsticks stuffed in their private regions then killed. Pregnant Japanese women had their stomachs cut open. At least one Korean family were strung up with barbed wires through their throats and then pushed into a pound. Men have their eyes and privates cut off.
Compare that to what KMT soldiers did during 228:
Post 228, bodies strung together with barbed wires were found drifting off-shore.
Wu Po-hsiung's (吳伯雄, KMT politician) uncle had his private cut off.
228 seems like something that's self-inspired.