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Taiwanese Mark 40th Anniversary of Anti-Nationalist Riots

March 01, 1987|Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Nearly 60,000 people attended rallies and memorial services in Taiwan on Saturday to mark the 40th anniversary of riots in which native Taiwanese protested the rule of Nationalists from mainland China.

Large numbers of police were deployed in the capital of Taipei and in the cities of Kaohsiung, Fengyuan, Ilan and Taichung, but no violence was reported. The Taipei rally drew about 17,000. Gatherings in the other four cities each attracted about 10,000 people.

David Chiang, leader of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, told 1,000 people at a church service in Taipei that the government should finally publicize what happened 40 years ago and pay compensation to the families.

It is not known how many people died during the riots on Feb. 28, 1947, and the subsequent Nationalist crackdown. Political dissidents have quoted witnesses as saying anywhere from a few thousand to 100,000 people were killed.

"The government has never admitted any fault nor has it offered an apology for the incident," Chiang said. "Many people who escaped overseas during the crackdown are still afraid to return home. Let us settle this incident (riots) and find a new base to live peacefully together."

In Fengyuan, 120 miles south of Taipei, people attending a rally bowed before a board listing the names of 1,000 known to have died, said organizer Lin Feng-hsi.

The Nationalists came to Taiwan after Japan relinquished its 50-year rule over the island at the end of World War II. The entire Nationalist government and many of its supporters moved to Taiwan after losing the civil war against the Chinese Communists in 1949.

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