Statements in Congress
in Commemoration of "February 28th"
The Honorable Peter Deutsch (D-Florida) in the House of Representatives:
Mr. Speaker, a few years ago, a Taiwanese-American constituent gave me a book entitled `Formosa Betrayed' written in 1965 by American diplomat George Kerr. The book describes a painful episode in Taiwan's history, which is today known as the 2-28 Massacre.
Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the massacre. After Japan had lost World War II, Taiwan was put under temporary administrative control of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Kuomintang. At the time, the Kuomintang was still fighting its civil war with Mao Tse-tung's Communists on mainland China. The Nationalists under Governor Chen Yi treated Taiwan as a conquered territory. Initial euphoria about the arrival of the nationalist troops in Taiwan soon changed to conflict when the new authorities turned out to be repressive and corrupt. That anger resulted in the 2-28 Massacre which claimed the lives of an estimated 18,000-28,000 Taiwanese in 1947.
The event represents the beginning of 40 years of Martial Law on the island during which Chiang's mainlanders ruled the island with an iron fist.
Mr. Speaker, the date February 28 is etched in the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people. Beginning this year, Taiwan dedicates February 28 as a national holiday. On the 50th anniversary of the 2-28 Massacre, we recognize the sacrifice of the Taiwanese people and their struggle for self-determination and reaffirm our commitment to a free and democratic Taiwan and to the strong relationship between our two countries.
The Honorable Pete Sessions (R-Texas) in the House of Representatives:
Mr. Speaker, the date February 28, 1947 is etched into the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people. It was a day in which thousands of Taiwanese gave their lives fighting for freedom and democracy. February 28, 1997, the 50th anniversary of this day, is one that should be honored here in the United States, because we share with Taiwan a common quest for freedom and democracy.
Fifty years ago to the day on February 28, 1947, thousands of Taiwanese began the long, historic struggle for a democratic Taiwan. Since that time, Taiwan has made tremendous political, economic and social progress toward a democratic and representative government. Taiwan successfully and peacefully elected their first president by a direct popular vote in March 1996, despite China's missile exercise threat.
Taiwan's progress toward democratic rule is matched only by its extraordinary economic success. Today, Taiwan ranks sixth in trade with the great State of Texas. We can attribute this economic accomplishment to Taiwan's dedication to the principle of democracy and capitalism.
Mr. Speaker, a democratic Taiwan contributes to the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. This day, Taiwan Peace Day, is recognized as an important date in Taiwan's historic evolution to full democracy. It should be spent as a day of healing, reconciliation, and unity among Taiwanese people all over the world. I hope we take the time to recognize the Taiwanese people and congratulate them on both their struggle and their success.
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