Town Meetings,
American Style

Island-wide Mobilization of Public Opinion

ON MARCH 4 General Ko shed a number of crocodile tears in public. Addressing the Settlement Committee he touched indirectly upon the problem of Formosan confidence in the United States of America or the United Nations, a "shameful embarrassment."

Both the Government and the people should feel ashamed on behalf of the nation and the Chinese race because of this Incident. On the first day ... I received two reports. The first one was that Americans were taking pictures of the Incident, and the other was that Japanese were celebrating it.

I was much more hurt by this information than by reports on the casualties of both government employees and civilians. I feel so badly that tears gather in my eyes.

As to this Incident, everything can be settled if we do not diverge from our national and racial standpoint. I will rather die here than to do anything or make any promise that departs from our national and racial standpoint. This is my duty as a soldier. This is the duty charged upon us by our nation, for us to perform. [1]

More than one thousand people packed the Civic Auditorium throughout the day to hear Committee discussions and the Government spokesmen who met with them on the wide stage.

By this time Formosans were beginning to focus attention on specific grievances of an island-wide nature. Basic utilities and public services must be maintained while reform proposals were being drawn up.

The principal resolutions of the day reflect the situation at the capital:

1. The Settlement Committee invites the formation of branch committees throughout the island. Representatives will be drawn from the elected Peoples Political Councils, and distinguished private persons in every city and District. These branch Committees will forward to Taipei the recommendations and resolutions having to do with reforms in local government.

2. The Government is asked to fulfill its promises to restore communications. If there are "accidents," the responsible people must be called to account.

3. A Committee of Three [including Huang Chao-chin] will negotiate with General Ko concerning soldiers in the streets. If they are on the streets in search of food, they must be unarmed. [Five days had passed since the Governor General promised to withdraw the roving troops.]

4. There must be broadcasts to China proper and overseas "explaining that the Formosans only demand reforms in the provincial government and nothing else."

5. "All information broadcasts will be exclusively released by the Information Section of the February 28th Incident Settlement Committee."

6. The Taiwan Electric Power Corporation will be asked to maintain constant services so that full communications can be maintained. [2]

The problems of public utilities services were acute, and first among these was the railway problem. The Director of Railways (Chen Ching-wen) was especially disliked and mistrusted. His monumental contempt for the island people had been undisguised. Although his administrative capacities were recognized, his arrogance was intolerable. Mechanical operations were handled skillfully enough, but the hated Special Railway Police Corps, responsible to Director Chen, were a ruthless lot. It was widely believed that they were either totally inefficient as a Guard unit, or were actually covering well-organized, systematic cargo-looting in transit between the ports and cities.

The slaughter of high school students in the Railway Offices on March 1 made Director Chen a first object of "reform." A delegation met the Commissioner of Communications (Jen), in the presence of a Lieutenant General representing the Taiwan Garrison Headquarters. It was agreed that Director Chen would be removed from office, that the Railway Police would be temporarily inactive from March 5, while reorganization of the police system went forward, and that a Railway Workers Service Corps (Formosan employees of the railway) would maintain order pending the general administrative reorganization. The Railway Bureau personnel who had taken refuge in the American Consulate should be dismissed from the service. All Formosan assaults upon employees from other provinces will be stopped.

Meanwhile a report on the electric power situation was brought before the general meeting at the Auditorium. All mainland Chinese were absent from their jobs, the island-wide system was being maintained solely by Formosan personnel, and the public was asked to cooperate in every way to enable them to keep the power services in full operation, for they were vital to public security.

Elsewhere in the city the All-Taiwan General Labor Union met to hear passionate speeches in support of the Settlement Committee. It was voted to have each union send two representatives to cooperate with the Committees.

About noon, March 4, a delegation of Settlement Committee representatives, representatives of the Taiwan Cultural Promotion Association and representatives of student organizations met with the Governor-General to explain arrangements to have youth organizations temporarily take over police functions. They then met with five of the Governor's Commissioners to discuss details of this, and at 3:30 P.M. reported again to the Governor. In summary, they requested his views, and asked him to direct the Settlement Committee to draw up a Reform Program for negotiation with the Government. They then asked him to have more direct contact with the public, explaining his own views and policies so that the common people would understand. These requests were of course designed to get Chen Yi's direct commitment to a Reform Program negotiation. There was the polite implication that he did not really know what was going on, and that if he did he would certainly desire reforms to be made.

The Governor's answers were suitably vague. He felt that his political and economic policies were good, "but not yet perfectly carried out." As for unemployment, relief measures were being taken. All views on the matter were welcomed. He was eager to keep in close touch with the people. On the matter of arms in the hands of a temporary youth corps for policing purposes, he had already ordered all the gendarmes and police to refrain from carrying weapons, therefore there was no need to place weapons in student hands.

Buried in the heart of the affable discourse was a statement which foreshadowed events to come. The Governor noted the difficulty be had in adjusting local problems and policies with national problems and policies. He asked the Formosans to devote more attention to local problems.

The delegation left the Governor at 4:00 P.M. to report to the Civic Auditorium.*

The Taiwan Association at Shanghai meanwhile had sent an urgent message to Chiang Kai-shek requesting him to undertake a thorough investigation of conditions which led to the February 28 Incident, and on that day (March 4) the Control Yuan of the Central Government ordered the distinguished educator Dr. Yang Liang-kung to investigate and report. At Taipei Chen Yi sent deputies to "comfort" the wounded in various hospitals.

Toward the close of the day's meeting Wang Tien-teng announced that a telephone message had been received saying that a Branch Committee had been formed at Taichung and that the city there was now entirely in Formosan hands, to be governed by the Committee during the negotiations for reform. The Taipei Committee was requested to ask the Governor to restrain and withdraw the armed troops which were shooting up the streets of Taichung as they were continuing to do in Taipei.

The "Star-Spangled Banner" and All That

Fortunately for the record we have eyewitness reports of events in this week, compiled by members of the UNRRA staff who were scattered over the island on their several errands. These are supplemented with letters sent to foreign friends at the UNRRA headquarters and in the American Consulate in that week.

We now know that we witnessed a most remarkable attempt on the part of the Formosans to put into practice the democratic principles which Washington put abroad in wartime and postwar propaganda, Had the Formosans believed in March, 1947, as their ancestors would certainly have believed in the 19th century, they would have wiped the mainland Chinese from the face of the island. They were in a position to do so, for the Nationalist troops on the island could have been overcome or driven into hiding. There could so easily have been a general massacre of mainland Chinese.

But the Formosans were attempting to bring about reform within the existing political framework. For one week they had the upper hand, but they chose to conduct themselves with a scrupulous regard for "correct" procedures, hoping throughout that the United States or the United Nations would show interest, that the American Ambassador in China would persuade Chiang to recall Chen Yi and send in a new man to undertake a thorough reform in the administration.

Events at Taipei were made known at once in all parts of the island. Here and there civilians clashed with military squads or with the mainland police. In many places mainland soldiers simply surrendered their arms; they had no stomach for a fight when it became clear that the Formosans were prepared to resist. The Formosans, on their part, developed a propaganda line urging the mainland soldiers not to aid in a civil war.

Government offices and private enterprises were taken over with little difficulty, for the mainland Chinese wisely remained within doors wherever they could.

Street fighting was brief but fairly severe in Taichung and Chia-yi, and at Kaohsiung a hard core of military force (commanded by General Peng Meng-chi) held its own base and continuously made trouble in the city, despite the Governor'spromises and the guarantees of Ko Yuen-feng, the Chief of Staff.

All mainland people in the Hualien district on the East Coast surrendered local controls voluntarily and without incident. The people of Hsinchu District undertook to guarantee that food would move steadily into Taipei city. Commissioner Jen reported to the Settlement Committee that all rail services were restored on March 5.

Down from the hills in the central districts came aborigine leaders and young men, offering to assist the Formosans in any way they might, and in mid-week a delegation of Taiyal and Ami tribesmen called on me at the American Consulate to "seek direction." I advised them at once to go back to the mountains to look after their own families and village interests, and to stay as far as possible from trouble centers.

Our sources of information indicated that the mainland Chinese were suffering a peculiarly unsettling fear of "what the aborigines might do." Rumors of the wildest sort were circulating in Taipei, relaying reports that "thousands of headhunters" were coming down from the mountains and had already reached the suburbs of the capital city. This was nonsense, but it represented the survival or reactivation of traditional Chiinese mainland views of Formosa, the savage island.

Just as the aborigines called at the American Consulate to "seek direction," the people of Pingtung, far to the south, were responding to Taipei's call for organization and recommendations for the reform program. Two Canadian nurses directing an UNRRA training program at the local hospital, watched with interest as local leaders convoked a general town meeting to prepare proposals for administrative reform in southern Formosa.

A truck carrying a loudspeaker toured the town, making announcements at suitable street intersections and public gathering-places. While moving from place to place the public address system blared forth "The Star-Spangled Banner"--theAmerican national anthem--although no American citizens were anywhere near the Pingtung District at that time. The Formosans were determined to have a town meeting in "true American style," and here, as everywhere else, showed deep confidence that the United States was prepared to back up its urgent propaganda on behalf of democratic institutions.

Miss Snow Red and the Communists

Where, meanwhile, were the Communists?

They had failed to make an impression on the Formosan people in 1946, and for more than a year had been keeping to themselves working in secret principally in the Taichung countryside. But now they came into the open, believing they could capitalize upon the crisis and perhaps seize the initiative and direction of a general rebellion.

From Taichung - from a former student - I received this letter, dated March 7:

Allow me to report the present accident in Taichung prefecture.

At first I did not believe the matter which took place in Taipei would effect so big influence all over this island. But early in the morning on 28th Taichung City Hall was opened and soon crowded with fanatic citizens and councillors. They debated zealously and agreed that this time the case is past endurance and they would demand rapid disposition of it by the govemment.

A representative was sent to Taihoku [Taipei] and a close comunication [i.e. consultation] was taken all around Taichung prefecture. But without any relation with City and Prefecture Council, radical element which had been concealed, abruptly appeared at that night and lead students and daredevils.

The head of this was Miss Sha Shets Ho-[Hsieh Hsueh-hung], a good fighter and suspected communist.

Then in the street an inquiry "Are you pig or sweet potato" was begun, and any passerbys who look like pig was knocked [i.e. anyone looking like a mainland Chinese was beaten].

But what incurred citizens indignation most and gave them a chance to explode their stayed rage, was that two boys were shot down by guards when they went to the Prefectural Governor . . .

Next morning Taichu people were already united, they rose up, student corps was formed, help was telephoned to the neighbor district. They seized [the] 8th batallion, [the] 36th air corps and police offices.

In accord with Taichung City, districts and villages commenced their work. They arrested ill-famed and suspected Chinese and the unfortunates are imprisoned. Concerning about Taichung prefecture, it seemed they got through very fair. Most of the Chinese force are under our disposal and a good deal of weapons are now in our hands.

But one thing I am afraid is so many pistol and gun are scattered in the confusion among people, and it is sure there are wicked persons who would take advantage of confusion. For this a new borned Public Peace Section was hoped [i.e. requested] to the people that arms should be gathered in one spot and reserved for better use.

I tried to catch the movement of communists these days, but except some demagogy, the communist intrigued, I don't think they would influence so potential power upon peoples. It is none of their business this time, every educated person would rightly think so. For them [the Communists] the trouble is they have no foundation in this island, and this chance is too big [for] their weak power.

Of course at some spot in the country we can see poor people flock before the rich gate demanding rice distribution, but they don't know what communism means exactly, and they have no leader.

Nevertheless the food problem before us is very serious. This accident is very smart, it is sure [i.e. advantageous for the Communists] but how far would the country wives and poor people understand it? For them the dominant element to determine what is good or bad largely depends on how more or cheap rice is. Could not UNRRA's flour in the godown meet this problem?

Yesterday Taichung Prefectural emergency Committee which was resumed for a time being, held a meeting and concreted its stuff [i.e. organized its activities]. The representatives of all institutions gathered and discussed earnestly and elected fifteen executive committee. You would see the resolution at the following pages. The meeting was serious itself, you only see it and you would understand how the people of Taiwan longed for democracy. The dominant opinion was Taipei Prefecture Committee should be more bold and be more careful lest they would not fall a prey to the Chinese intrigue. They insisted that now they had [taken] a step they should advance more steps and carry through.

It seems Taichung men are rather stubborn and irresistable. At first time since this accident I saw a group of Mandarin wearing a Formosan-like shabby cloth walked in the street. Chinese in Taichung City are now divided in four parts - soldiers, ill [i.e. rascals or evil persons], good, [and] wounded. The ill and soldiers are under our guard, wounds [wounded] and killed are not clear, but appeared the killed are extremely little both Chinese and Formosan.

Sir, you know quite well the cause of this regrettable accident, I am sure. So I don't like to mention this any more. But I would like to know how America thinks. Has America any disposal [i.e. plan] if the matter go bad? Is Taiwan legally returned to China from the point of view of international law? I also love my country, I mean China. But a mere love is heartfailing in this case. Love should be substantial. What do you think? [3]

Here before our eyes was repeated the drama of bitter choice which the American colonists had had to make in 1776. There were those who loved England, but loved freedom more. In Formosa the expectation of a new postwar life in a new China, guided by and in association with the United States was now cruelly destroyed. What indeed, did America think?

The answer was brief: "This is China now."

The Youth League and Local Political Expression

The March 4 delegation which demanded dismissal of Chen Ching-wen, Director of the Railway Administration, represented the gradual organization of specific demands within particular offices of Government. The Settlement Committee leaders rather hoped that it would not have to be concerned with such issues until larger issues were settled - issues having to do with the mechanics of developing a reasonable reform program after the widest possible reference to representative organizations. They had begun to feel the need of unity - a common front - in meeting the Government.

There were disquieting rumors that troops might come from the mainland. A forceful younger element urged the Committee to seize all mainland military personnel on the island, a move, the Committee realized, which could have the most grave consequences. That would indeed be rebellion, whereas they sought only reform within the existing offices of Government.

As the Committee worked long hard hours to bring about careful organization (there were seventeen local subdivisions created throughout the island) conditions at the capital greatly improved. The Monopoly Bureau cars overturned in the streets remained untouched, as reminders of the incident at Round Park, but shops were again open and the primary schools resumed classwork.

An amateur radio operator was in touch with someone on the Fukien coast. It was evident that troops were being concentrated at Fukien ports and were presumed to be destined for Formosa. It began to be rumored that the Governor-General had set March 10 as the date for the presentation of a reform program because he believed he could get troops into the island before that time, and thus make it unnecessary for him to recognize the reform documents.

Each rumor strengthened the argument of the "activists,"and made more difficult the task of the Settlement Committee.

A new organization appeared, a Taiwan Youth League, founded by Chiang Wei-chuan.** It had a platform of six principles:

1. Formosa must achieve the highest degree of autonomy, to enable it to become the leading model province of New China;

2. Formosa must insist on the general popular election of a governor, and of magistrates and mayors, "in order to fulfill the program of National Reconstruction outlined by Dr. Sun Yat-sen";

3. Formosans must demonstrate a law-abiding spirit, and lead in the promotion of democracy;

4. Formosa must promote Chinese culture for the benefit of China and of mankind;

5. The Government must revive industry and increase production in order to stabilize the local economy and enrich the lives of the people;

6. The Government must encourage the people to achieve a high social standard. [4]

Chiang Wei-chuan broadcast to the mainland on March 5, saying that the vendor's death at the hands of the Monopoly Bureau agents was the immediate provocation, but that the underlying cause was profound dissatisfaction and bitterness after months of Chen Yi's rule. He assured his audience there was no thought of rebellion nor of independence in the island; the need was for immediate and widespread reform. Chiang then addressed the Youth League assembly at Taipei in these terms.

We absolutely support the Central Government, but will eradicate all corrupt officials in this province. This is our aim which I hope every one of you fully grasp. At the same time we must realize our present situation. We need organization, but we must try our best to bring about a peaceful settlement, and never indiscreetly resort to force. [5]

The Taipei Settlement Committee received the "Declaration of Taichung Prefectural Administrative Committee for Emergency" which represents a fair sample of opinion being expressed by each of the seventeen Committee centers now established throughout the island. I quote the text as translated and sent to me from Taichung on March 7.


1. We would recover order, maintain political peace and welfare, and work for political reconstruction.

2. We would dispatch ables [i.e. able men] and cooperate to all institutions, private and official.


1. We claim for the immediate enforcement of Constitution and election of the Governor of Taiwan Province, prefectures, cities, districts. Our objective is self-government.

2,. We claim for the reorganization of the officials of Taiwan and raise men of ability to higher position from the people of this island for the building of New Taiwan.

3. We claim for the distribution of official and military provision stock to meet the food shortage of this island.

4. We claim for the abolishment of the monopoly system and any factory belonging to it would be facilitate [i.e. managed] by we Formosan.

5. We claim for the juridical independence and the strict purge of the tyranny of soldiers and policemen. We are serious to have the respectability of public rights and public seven freedoms of live, of speech, of thought, of publish, of gathering, of formation of association, of residence.

6. We claim any juridical pursuit [i.e. prosecution] should not be applied for persons who righteously take part in this 2-28 accident.

7. We claim Government should take means for [i.e. to combat] soaring commodity prices and unemployment problem.


I. Build New China Republic.

2. Guarantee democratic policy.

3. We support National Government. Our aim is to eliminate corrupt briber.

4. An immediate enforcement of the election of all in chief [in administrative office] in Taiwan--province, prefecture, and city.

5. We [are] against civil war.

6. Hell to the autocracy.

7. Do away with undemocratic administration.

8. Abandon weapons; we want a peaceable government.

9. We disgust [i.e. decry] armed intervention, and would deem it as our enemy.

10. Gentlemen, ables [i.e. men of ability] honest and peace-loving person from all corner of our China, take share of us and cooperate our brilliant future.

The China Republic forever!

The Taiwan Province forever!

On March 5, about the hour Chiang Wei-chuan was addressing the Youth League rally, a delegation representing the Taiwan Political Reconstruction Association came to the American Consulate bearing a brief letter and a "Manifesto" which restated the Formosan desire for reform within the existing political structure - a reform of personnel and policies, and not a break or change in Formosa's relations with China. The petition addressed to the American Consul said this:


For the protection of the lives of the six million Formosans we cordially request you to forward the enclosed letter to Ambassador Dr. Leighton Stuart for transmission to the National Government of the Chinese Republic.

/s/ The Political Reconstruction
Promotion Association of Taiwan

The petitioners were not received by the Consul, and at Nanking, at a later date I was unable to discover any record of the "Manifesto."

The Thirty-two Demands" - What the Formosans Wanted

Ugly rumors from the mainland spurred the Settlement Committee to hasten work on the Draft Reform Program to be offered to the Governor-General for his consideration and for transmittal to Nanking.

Chen Yi had set March 10 as the day for the program to be presented to him, but it was now suspected that he would land troops, making it unnecessary for him to endure this humiliation.

The Committee's Executive Group acted as direct sponsors of the Reform Program. The group included four members of the National Assembly, two members of the National Peoples Political Councils, six from the Taiwan Provincial PPC, five from the Municipal PPC'S, and two "reserve members" or members-at-large."

It must be stressed again that this was not a group of irresponsible radicals; every member had been cleared and approved by the Government as PPC candidates in 1946, and for the most part they represented the senior economic and professional men in the island. The Settlement Committee had been appointed by Governor-General Chen Yi himself, and to the Governor they now presented these "demands."

Obviously much thought had been devoted to these issues long before the crisis of February 28. It remained only to bringthem together in a text. The document was presented to Governor Chen well ahead of the March 10 deadline. Thanks to carefully organized communication with the seventeen branch Committees, the final draft embraced reforms needed in every part of the island and at every administrative level. On review we see that the items could be grouped roughly under six general categories. The full text, with notes, is presented in Appendix I (pp. 475-479) as I presented it to Ambassador Stuart at Nanking. [6] Here it is summarized.

The minimum reforms required to ensure equality and honest representation of the Formosan people in island government were ten. These included reforms which would guarantee freedom of speech, of assembly, and of the press. Major appointments to administrative office must be approved by the elective Peoples' Political Councils. The Nationalist Party must no longer be authorized to control the election process through control of candidates and management of the polls.

A second category of "demands" - seven in number - listed reforms required at once to ensure security of person and property. These touched upon control of the civil police, administration of the law, and the composition and administration of the local courts.

Economic reforms - the third category - numbered six and were designed to secure a revision and liberalization of general economic policies, to eliminate the abusive monopoly system, and to guarantee an equitable solution to the confiscated Japanese property problem.

A fourth category included three reforms affecting military affairs on Formosa. They are of special interest because the Generalissimo later justified his harsh and vindictive policy, his "punishment" of the Formosans, by reference to these three demands. Formosan leaders demanded that the military police should be forbidden to arrest anyone other than military personnel. They asked that the armed forces - the Army, Navy and Air Forces - should employ as many Formosans as possible onFormosa. And they demanded that the Taiwan Garrison Headquarters should be abolished in order to put an end to the misuse of military privilege. Formosa should not be treated as a garrisoned occupied territory.

Reforms affecting social welfare included a demand that laborers be protected by law and that the wealthy men and noted leaders must be released who were held as alleged "war criminals" and "collaborators." The political, economic and social rights of the aboriginal peoples must be recognized and guaranteed.

At least three of the "demands" were subordinate items offering opportunity for face-saving concessions and compromise. One concerned the Vocational Guidance Camp for political reeducation "and other unnecessary institutions." Another called for payment by the Central Government for 150,000 tons of foodstuffs exported after the surrender in 1945. A third demanded payment for the huge sugar reserves which had been shipped out of Formosa by order of the Executive Yuan when T. V. Soong was President. Formosans believed that the sugar had gone into private warehouses.

In presenting these "Thirty-two Demands" the Settlement Committee was profoundly aware of its responsible official character and acted with great restraint at a time when Chen Yi was militarily helpless and his government paralyzed.

The Committee's work was greatly hampered when many impossible demands were made upon it by individuals and groups not authorized to develop a reform program for the Government's consideration. It was most seriously embarrassed by published demands that only Formosans be allowed to hold arms on Formosa, and that all Central Government troops must be withdrawn. It was also embarrassed by extreme threats against individual members of Government which appeared in handbill and poster form.

Reform -Not Rebellion

By now (March 6) rumor ran everywhere that Chen Yi was bringing in military reinforcements from the mainland despite his pledges.

Until the very last the leaders at Taipei and at the seventeen subordinate "town meeting" centers worked feverishly to prepare this reasonable program. There was no ultimatum involved, no challenging "either-or" threat to declare independence. From among newspaper editorials and published declarations of the day we need here quote only two which clearly state the Formosan grievances:

First ... we admit that the cause and spread of the affair was nothing but a reflection of the constant alienation of public sentiment since the restoration. This sufficiently explains that the political and economic arrangements of the last one and a half years have caused a universal and intense dissatisfaction on the part of the people, and that the Incident was nothing but an inevitable outlet of such discontent.

For over one year the people's discontent has daily increased, the popular opinion organizations have been doing their part in giving reports, criticisms, and suggestions; to this the authorities can make no denial of ignorance. Nevertheless, the authorities have not paid much attention.

As a result, today's most tragic situation has come into being. Once it had burst, it became something which cannot be denied; indeed, we cannot but blame the authorities for their lack of sensitivity to political matters. Hence we hope that the authorities, having learned a lesson from the Incident, will give some sincere reflection, will put into practice the Settlement Committee's demands, will work out an immediate solution to the Incident with us, and will listen to public opinion, reform the Government, restore people's confidence, and lead the six million Taiwanese brothers back to a closer relationship with the Government, so as to cooperate with one heart in rebuilding Taiwan.

Therefore we [Chinese] cannot but give our urgent cry to these six million Taiwan brothers saying that "We are all Chinese and descendants of the Great Han race," that from our origin we are brothers of the same blood, that we have been separated because of Taiwan's half-century under the Japanese.

At this date after restoration, when there has not been sufflcient time even for families to be reunited . . . is no time for us to have hostile feelings. Even worse is it for us to engage in slaughter! No matter what is the right or the wrong of the situation, brothers, mutual slaughter is to our shame. This sort of disgraceful action will not only cause foreigners to jeer, and the frantic joy of the Japanese, but will cause us to stain the history of this glorious island . . .[7]

An editorial in the influential Min Pao, at Taipei (March 6) noted that the Settlement Committee had adopted the principle of no discrimination toward people from other provinces, so long as Formosans are properly represented at all levels of the local administration. It too raised the issue of civil strife:

Foreign countries have been given much wrong information regarding this Incident. There is also a misinterpretation of other purposes and wishes. However excited the Formosans become, their conception that they are a part of the Chinese race will not change. Since we belong to the same race, we should have brotherly regard for one another. How can we meet each other with arms?

We hope our [Nationalist] soldiers will lay down their arms so as to give our Formosan compatriots a calm moment to deliberately discuss problems of the situation. Perhaps an earlier enforcement of the Constitution and an immediate preparation for the general election of provincial chairmen and magistrates will contribute somewhat to the settlement of the situation. [8]

This, of course, was whistling for courage. An amateur radio operator on the mainland was continuously warning friends on Formosa that a punitive force had been assembled there. Chen rYi had set the date for presentation of the Reform Program--March 10. The Formosans presented it to him on March 7, and made public the text. He was therefore obliged to accept it as a document for consideration, but he pointedly warned that he could act only in matters affecting Provincial administration; all matters touching on the National administration would have to be referred to Nanking.

Ships bearing Nationalist Army units left the mainland that night, heading eastward to bring in Chiang Kai-shek's solution to the Formosan problem.

By Saturday morning, March 8, the Settlement Committee learned, beyond shadow of doubt, that a force - a very large one, heavily armed - was about to land, and that Nationalist Army units were continuing to assemble at embarkation points along the China coast. Obviously Chen Yi and his men - and the National Government -- had betrayed them.

Some members began to issue retractions and modifications of statements made earlier in the week, or denials of acts and proposals emanating from Settlement Committee Headquarters after the February 28 Incident. It was much too late.

next chapter
contents of Formosa Betrayed

* The efficiency with which Formosan leaders organized for island-wide representation is noteworthy. At Taipei the Committee had the following Sections, each reporting its deliberations and recommendations to the full Committee sitting on the platform of the Civic Auditorium.

  1. General Affairs Section-to digest letters and formulate recommendations;
  2. Liaison Section - to communicate with Government offices;
  3. Investigation Section - a fact act-finding group;
  4. Organization Section - to coordinate the work of the diverse sections;
  5. Public Order Section - to maintain order through an organization of students, Formosan policemen, etc. - the "Patriotic Service Corps";
  6. Relief Section -to provide "Red Cross" services; to meet sanitary corps problems and related welfare problems;
  7. Finance Section - to rally contributors and to request the Government to meet its share of the costs;
  8. Information Section - to counter the gross misrepresentations being broadcast by Stanway Cheng's office on behalf of Chen Yi;
  9. Food Section - to handle ten million yen contributed by Committee members to buy rice, and the twenty million yen promised by the Government Food Bureau. An additional thirty million yen would be available if needed, from the Provincial Food Bureau. The Food Section was authorized to buy rice from the liquor manufacturing companies.

[Back to the text]

**The founder, Chiang Wei-chuan, could appeal to Formosan youth with special force, for his brother Chiang Wei-sui had died in a Japanese prison in the 1930's because of his work for the Taiwan Home Rule Movement at that time.

[Back to the text]


  1. Hsin Sheng Pao (Taipei), March 5, 1947.
  2. ibid.
  3. Letter to Kerr from a former student, dated at Taichung, March 7, 1947
  4. Chung Wai Jih Pao (Taipei), March 6,1947.
  5. Ibid.
  6. [U. S. State Dept.] United States Relations With China, pp. 933-935, with supplementary notes by the author of the quoted "Memorandum on the Situation in Taiwan" (G.H.K.).
  7. Ching Hua Jih Pao (Tainan), March 5, 1947
  8. Min Pao (Taipei), March 6, 1947.