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228 IncidentThe 228 Incident, also known as the 228 Massacre, was an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that began on February 27, 1947 and was violently suppressed by the Kuomintang (KMT) government. Estimates of the number of deaths vary from ten thousand to thirty thousand or more. The Incident marked the beginning of the Kuomintang's White Terror period in Taiwan, in which thousands more Taiwanese vanished, were killed, or imprisoned. The number "228" refers to the day the massacre began: February 28, or 02-28.
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 Taiwanese and the ROC administration. The flashpoint came on February 27, in Taipei when a dispute between a female 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.
The subject was officially taboo for decades. On the anniversary of the event in 1995, President Lee Teng-hui addressed the subject publicly, a first for a Taiwanese head of state. The event is now openly discussed and commemorated as Peace Memorial Day and details of the event have become the subject of investigation. Every February 28, Taiwan's president gathers with other officials to ring a commemorative bell in memory of the victims. The president bows to family members of 2-28 victims and gives each one a certificate officially declaring the family innocent of any crime. Monuments and memorial parks to the victims of 2-28 have been erected in a number of Taiwanese cities, including Kaohsiung and Taipei