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Website posts Republic of China ammunition inventory for 228 Massacre in Taiwan

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A respected Asian website hosted by Hi-on.org has published a listing of the ammunition expended by the Republic of China during the 228 Massacre in March 1947 on Formosa.

Battle-hardened troops of the Kuomintang regime of Chiang Kai-shek were ordered to Taipei to put down a rebellion against the Chinese occupation government following a popular uprising on February 28, 1947. No complete record of the bloodshed exists and the murdered are said to have numbered between 30,000 and 100,000. Bodies littered the streets and fouled the harbors while the shooting went on and no one was keeping count of the victims.

According to the ammunition inventory the ROC Army 21st Division, approximately 6,000 strong, fired 179,944 rifle bullets between March 1 and March 31, 1947. Another14,166 bullets were used in hand-held machine guns. Pistols shot 4,574 rounds. There were 1,242 hand grenades exploded and 354 rifle grenades used. There were also 371 mortar shells expended.

The rebellion was ignited by the severe beating of a poor street vendor by the ROC monopoly police enforcing a sales ban on untaxed cigarettes.

George Kerr, a U.S. Navy civil affairs officer stationed in Taipei, was eyewitness to the killings and repeatedly asked superiors for American intervention to stop the slaughter. Because of Cold War politics President Harry Truman turned a deaf ear and blind eye to Chiang Kai-shek’s atrocities in the former Japanese territory. The United States is the principal occupying power over Taiwan under the San Francisco Peace Treaty that ended World War II with Japan. However, the United States has permitted the exiled Republic of China to govern the island and shrouded the arrangement with a so-called strategic ambiguity leaving the island’s international status unresolved.

Taiwan’s 23 million people are stateless and caught in a struggle between two Chinese governments both arguing there is but one China. Taiwanese athletes had to compete in the Olympics under the name Chinese Taipei and wave a white banner as their national flag.

Once a year, on February 28, remembrances of the slaughter awaken the public conscience and commemorative events are scheduled.

Taipei City Government and the municipal Taipei 228 Memorial Museum are jointly organizing a concert at the city's 228 Peace Memorial Park followed by a memorial service on the anniversary of the uprising.

The Memorial Foundation of 228 also plans a film screening at the nearby National 228 Memorial Museum on Friday.

Several blocks away, university students will put on music and theater performances at Freedom Square in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall alongside exhibitions and accounts of the massacre by scholars, victims and their families.

Outside of Taipei, a memorial concert is planned in Chiayi City, where an exhibition showcasing pictures and documents from the massacre will run from Feb. 27 to March 23.

Kaohsiung will hold a ceremony in a memorial park and other cities and counties are also planning various events around the island.

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