Reexamining Taiwan’s 228 Massacre: A discussion on the U.S

Reexamining Taiwan’s 228 Massacre: A discussion on the U.S. role in Taiwan then and now

When: Sunday, February 28, 2009; 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where: University of Washington, Kane Hall 110, Seattle, WA 98195

The event site is

On February 28, the Washington Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) will host a discussion to examine the importance of the “228 Massacre” to the understanding of present-day Taiwan, the US Government’s relationship and culpability, as well as what needs to be done today to deliver on the promise made to the Taiwanese during WWII.

Participating on the panel is Jonathan Manthorpe, author of Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan and International Affairs columnist for the Vancouver Sun; Dr. Sam Small, Vice-Chairman of the Taiwan Veterans Badge of Honor Association; and Bryan Chou, second-generation Taiwanese-American, active in the Taiwanese-American community and in the group, Human Rights for Taiwanese.

On February 28, 1947, the arrest of a cigarette vendor in Taipei led to large-scale protests by the native Taiwanese against the corruption and repression of Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese Nationalist government, which had come over from China with the U.S. Government’s blessing after Japan’s defeat by the Allied forces in 1945. Citing the glorious Revolution of 1776, the Americans promised freedom to the Taiwanese from Japanese rule. However, following the unarmed protests, troops that Chiang’s government secretly sent from China rounded up and executed an entire generation of leading figures, including students, lawyers, and doctors. Scholars estimate that up to 28,000 people lost their lives in the turmoil.

The U.S. Consulate in Taipei reported back about these events, but was told by Washington to do nothing. During the “White Terror” of the subsequent years, the Nationalists ruled Taiwan under martial law, which ended only when democratization began during the mid-1980s. The “228 Massacre” remains a defining event in the political divide that exists in Taiwan today.

To imagine for Americans what this “228 Massacre” meant for Taiwanese, picture the British, after the Boston Tea Party, then rounding up all of who we now view as the founding fathers and summarily executing them. The ramifications of this on democracy and human rights in America would have been profound, perhaps to the point of America still being under British rule.


Jonathan Manthorpe
Jonathan Manthorpe has been The Sun’s International Affairs columnist and a foreign correspondent for nearly 25 years. He came to Vancouver in 1998 after five years as the Southam News Asia correspondent based in Hong Kong from where he travelled and wrote on events throughout the Far East, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Manthorpe and his family were posted to Asia direct from Africa where he spent nearly five years as the regional correspondent for Southam News based in Harare, Zimbabwe. During this time Manthorpe reported on the transition from apartheid to majority rule in South Africa and covered major wars, famines and social upheavals across the continent. This posting followed nearly a decade in Europe where Manthorpe was sent in 1979 as the Toronto Star’s European Bureau chief. In the early 1980s Manthorpe spent two years as a special adviser in London to then prime minister Pierre Trudeau during the campaign to patriate Canada’s constitution. After the completion of that project Manthorpe became the European Correspondent for Southam News. For most of the 1970s Manthorpe was a political correspondent for the Globe and Mail and then a daily columnist for the Toronto Star.

He grew up in Toronto, but trained as a journalist in Britain where he won the national prize for the top graduate of the year in 1969. Manthorpe has won the Mitchener Award for journalism and several international prizes for his writing.

Dr. Sam Small
Dr. Sam Small is currently the Vice Chairman of the Taiwan Badge of Honor Association (BOHAUSA) and is currently working on a book about the Taiwan China unification question. He is a Vietnam veteran decorated with a Purple Heart and the Gallantry Cross Campaign Medal; assigned to the Shu Lin-Kou airstation outside of Taipei in 1971, he served two years in Taiwan. Returning to the United States, Dr. Small entered the University of Washington, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in International studies focusing on the China region; he went on to earn an MBA in in global business sustainability, then obtained his Ph.D. in International Business Sustainablitiy in 2005.
Dr. Small has spent a total of twelve years working in Taiwan and another four in China, including visits to both the Tibet and the Uighur regions currently controlled by the Beijing government. As a front-line witness to
the 1989 Tienanmen massacre in Beijing, he met and talked with many of the student leaders of the China democracy movement.

As a member of BOHAUSA, Dr. Small was an official guest of the Taiwan presidential innauguration of both Chen Shui-Bian and Ma Ying-Jeou. As Vice Chairman of BOHAUSA, he has met President Ma, expressing concern about Taiwanese concerns, and has worked to promote Taiwanese concerns in the United States Congress.

Bryan Chou
Bryan Chou was born in Seattle, Washington to Taiwanese parents who immigrated to the United States. Bryan is active in the Taiwanese- American community; he has served as President of the Taiwanese American Student Association (TSA) at the University of Washington, was a member of the National Board for the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA), and member of Human Rights for Taiwanese in Seattle.

Chou holds a Bachelors degree in Community and Environmental Planning from the University of Washington and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design.