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Taiwan authorities distort uprising of 1947 for own ends
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-26 10:21

The Taiwan authorities and splittist forces have been accused of distorting Taiwanese people's patriotic uprising on February 28, 1947 to help promote the island's independence.

Zhang Kehui, chairman of the Central Committee of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, says pro-independence forces are taking advantage of the historic event to achieve their political goal.

The uprising was by no means "an independence movement of the Taiwan people to fight the regime from outside" or even "the start of Taiwan independence" as separatist forces have advocated, according to Zhang.

He stresses that the uprising was against oppression and a courageous drive by Taiwan people to seek democracy instead of a conflict between native Taiwan people and those from the mainland.

57th anniversary

Zhang made the statement at a recent ceremony to mark the 57th anniversary of the uprising.

An armed protest broke out that day in Taiwan against the ruling Kuomintang government; and thousands of Taiwan people were killed.

The Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League was founded by several Taiwan patriots in Hong Kong in December 1947 after the uprising failed.

On Sunday, the League and the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots jointly published an article calling for unity across the Straits and opposition to separatist remarks distorting the movement.

The Taiwanese people courageously fought against the autocratic Kuomintang government in order to seek democracy, while the whole of China was encouraged by the victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45), the article says.

The uprising was also an important part of a nationwide patriotic and democratic movement against the despotic and corrupt Kuomintang regime.

The Communist Party of China showed deep interest in the movement and its underground organization even participated in the uprising, it says.

Historical facts show that the people across the Taiwan Straits have an identical pursuit - to fight oppression and autocracy and struggle for democracy, and they also support each other in fighting autocratic rule and building their homeland, says the article.

The article quotes an open letter of the organizers of the uprising to the people of the whole country as saying that the aim of the movement is to "mop up corrupt officials and boost political reform in the province (of Taiwan). We do not reject compatriots from other provinces, but rather, we welcome them to participate in the political work of this province."

Zhou Qing, a participant of the uprising, recalls that a great number of people from the mainland joined in the uprising and about half of those killed in the event were those from the mainland.

Mainland participants

Native Taiwanese people also provided protection for mainland participants, says Zhou, now a researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Zhang Haipeng, director of the Institute of Modern History under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says conflicts did occur between native Taiwanese people and those from the mainland due to misunderstandings and the chaotic situation during the uprising.

That, however, was just accidental and did not represent the mainstream, says Zhang, adding that it is groundless to distort the uprising as a movement by native Taiwanese people to fight those from outside the island.

The article published by The Taiwan Democratic Self-government League and the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots notes that the separatist forces on the island are using the historic event as a tool for their splittist activities, regardless of the Taiwan people's sincere hope for peace, stability and development.

Reversal of democracy

Their attempt to create conflicts among ethnic groups on the Taiwan island and between the two sides of the Straits is a reversal of democracy in Taiwan and a blasphemy against, and humiliation of, the martyrs of the movement.

The plot to realize "Taiwan independence" will severely endanger the basic interests and safety of people across the Straits and damage the future of Taiwan people, it adds.

Commemorating the 57th anniversary of the February 28 uprising is to "restore the historical truth," says the article.

It calls on the Taiwan society to cherish its hard-won achievements in promoting democracy and maintain ethnic harmony, social stability and economic prosperity on the island.

It also calls for co-operation between the two sides of the Straits to jointly maintain peace and stability across the Straits and make concerted efforts to realize the reunification and revitalization of the Chinese nation.

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