AT NOON on Saturday, March 8, Major General Chang Wu-tso, Commander of the Fourth Gendarme Regiment, called on the Settlement Committee at its Headquarters to make the following statement:
I can guarantee that there will be no social disturbances if the people do not try to disarm the soldiers. I want especially to report to you that the demands for political reforms in this province are very proper.
The Central Government will not dispatch troops to Taiwan. I earnestly entreat the people of Taiwan not to irritate the Central Government, but to cooperate to maintain order.
I can risk my life to guarantee that the Central Government will not take any military actions against Taiwan.
I speak these words out of my sincere attachment to this Province and to the nation. I hope Taiwan will become a model province after these political reforms. 
In mid-afternoon several foreign businessmen at Keelung were startled by the crackle of machine-gun fire near the docks.. With growing volume it soon spread into the streets leading back into the city proper.
The Nationalist troops had come. Chiang Kai-shek had responded promptly to Chen Yi's call for help.
Ships from the mainland lay in the harbor. Local military units ashore, by prearranged signal, began to clear the streets near the docks. Indiscriminate gunfire was directed at no particular objects or groups.
A fairly reliable Government source later told us that 2000 gendarmes were first put ashore to control the Keelung dock area, after which 8000 regular troops came off. Concurrently at Kaohsiung some 3000 troops landed from the ship Hai Ping. With these troops came suitable equipment, most of it of American origin. This was China, now, but a hasty paint job did not hide the clearly marked original lettering on the vehicles.
Was this to be the American answer to Formosan pleas for help?
That evening after dinner we sat discussing with friends the dread implications of the word from Keelung. Suddenly the night silence was shattered. The rattle of gunfire could be heard not far away on the boulevard leading into the city from the north. Soon thereafter -a matter of minutes - Nationalist Army trucks rolled slowly along the road before our house, and from them a hail of machine-gun fire was directed at random into the darkness, ripping through windows and walls and ricocheting in the black alleyways.
The crack of rifle-fire and the chatter of machine guns could be heard throughout the night, across the town. The troops had come in from Keelung.
This was to be the Government's answer to proposals for reform. Dawn on that Sunday opened a week of naked terror for the Formosan people.
During a lull in the action on our boulevard, we made our way to the Mackaye Mission Hospital close by, to join there the Director of the USIS, his wife and baby, and other foreigners who realized that the large walled mission compound might offer some security from random gunfire in the streets.
From an upper window we watched Nationalist soldiers inaction in the alleys across the way. We saw Formosans bayoneted in the street without provocation. A man was robbed before our eyes - and then cut down and run through. Another ran into the street in pursuit of soldiers dragging a girl away from his house and we saw him, too, cut down.
This sickening spectacle was only the smallest sample of the slaughter then taking place throughout the city, only what could be seen from one window on the upper floor of one rather isolated house. The city was full of troops.
At one moment from our vantage point we saw the Canadian nurse in charge of the hospital (Miss Hildur Hermanson) run out accompanied by two Formosan nurses and three assistants with stretchers. They boldly crossed the boulevard to enter a warren of alleys beyond. Soon they returned, carrying a desperately wounded man. As they entered the hospital building soldiers leveled fire from the street, but missed the nurses, merely knocking chunks from the cornice just under a large Canadian flag. This time there were no official news broadcasts to tell of Nationalist troops attacking a Canadian Mission hospital.
Throughout that grim Sunday patients were brought into the mission compound, some shot, some literally backed to pieces. A well-known Formosan teacher had been shot in the back while trying to reach her home and had been robbed as she lay in the street before someone managed to bring her into the hospital nearby.
Night came, but no rest; gunfire continued to be heard, and was especially heavy that evening in the Manka quarter of the city, a crowded slumlike area.
What were we to see next day?
The Taiwan Garrison Headquarters published an ambiguous communique saying that "all illegal organizations must be abolished before March 10, and meetings and parades are prohibited."  Only the Government's own paper, the Hsin Sheng Pao, appeared on March 10.
With the landing of troops Governor-General Chen and his henchmen had suddenly regained great courage. He now took the line that the whole activity had been rebellion directed not against himself but against the Central Government and Chiang Kai-shek. Given Chiang's vengeful character, this would ensure full support for what was about to follow; it was to be a "Fukien Settlement" once more.
On March 10 General Chen issued the following statement to the press and public:
In the afternoon of March 2, I broadcast that members of the national, provincial, and municipal PPC's, Taiwan representatives to the National Assembly, and representatives from the people may jointly form a committee to receive the people's opinion concerning relief work for the February 28 Incident.
Unexpectedly, since its formation, the Committee has given no thought to relief work such as medical care for the wounded and compensation to the killed and so forth. On the contrary, it acted beyond its province, and on March 7 went so far as to announce a settlement outline containing rebellious elements. Therefore this Committee (including hsien and municipal branch committees) should be abolished. From hereafter, opinions on political reforms concerning the province may be brought up by the Provincial PPC and those concerning the Hsien and municipalities by their respective districts or municipal PPC's. People who have opinions may bring them up to the PPC or to the Government General by writing. 
While the indiscriminate slaughter was at its height in Taipei, the Governor-General went on the air with this statement:
Brethren of Taiwan --
Yesterday I declared temporary martial law again. Now with the utmost sincerity, I want to tell our good and virtuous brethren who constitute the vast majority of the population of the island, that my declaration of martial law is entirely for your protection. You must not listen to the rumors of wicked people. You must not be suspicious or afraid. There shall not be the slightest harm to our law-abiding brethren. You must feel at ease.
I have declared martial law again solely for the purpose of coping with the very small number of the desperate and rebellious. As long as they are not annihilated there will be no peace for our virtuous brethren.
Since the occurrence of the February 28 Incident, I have broadcast three times. Regarding the Incident, I have had the Monopoly Officer who caused the manslaughter tried by the court, the families of the dead have been indemnified, and the wounded compensated and taken care of, and those who have taken part in the beatings [of mainland Chinese monopoly employees] are exempted from prosecution.
As to political reforms, I have promised that the Government General may be reformed to absorb as many as possible of the people of the Province, that mayors and magistrates may be elected by the people, and that other political reforms may be discussed and decided upon later, according to law. Thus, what is expected and requested by the majority of the people, as far as it is within the boundary of law, has nearly been accepted. Anyway, I believe that from now on order will be completely restored without further trouble.
However, since martial law was lifted on March 1, plundering of property, seizure of arms, and storming of government organizations and godowns has continued to occur in Taipei, and statements against the State were publicly announced. In other places looting, seizing of arms and arresting of government employees, and besieging of government institutions has also occurred. Please reflect whether such deeds are proper and legal. I believe that every one of you, my good brethren, will realize that such actions are far from legal, and are in fact rebellious.
Brethren, since the occurrence of the February 28 Incident, what you have wanted to settle is the question of manslaughter by the Monopoly personnel, and the question of political reform.
But a small minority of ruffians and rebellious gangsters have taken advantage of the situation to invent rumors, sow the seeds of dissension, tell lies, and make threats in order to attain the aims of their plot. All good citizens have suffered a terrible life during the past ten days.
Brethren, such suffering has entirely been created by these ruffians and gangsters. In order to relieve you from this suffering, the Government cannot but declare martial law so as to obliterate these gangsters who are harmful to you. This point I hope you will thoroughly understand.
The transference of national troops to Taiwan is entirely for the protection of the people of the province and for the eradication of rioters and rebels and no other purpose. There is an exceedingly small number of rebellious people in this province; most of the people are exceptionally good and virtuous, and they have provided various means of looking after those from other provinces who have been beaten. Such manifestations of brotherhood I have deeply appreciated.*
To these good people of Taiwan I express my sincere gratitude. I further hope they will rally their courage and display their sense of righteousness, and love one another in order to build a new Taiwan. 
The Governor's soothing words were printed up in pamphlet form and scattered by plane over the cities and towns of the island. This statement set the general framework in which both the local and national governments developed later public explanations of the February 28 Incident and its aftermath. "A few wicked gangsters had terrorized the island in the first week of March and had rebelled against the Chinese Government; Chinese Nationalist troops had come in to protect the righteous people, and were now soothing and protecting all honest and upright Formosans."
The roadways, the river banks and the harbor shores were strewn with bodies at that moment, and the Nationalist troops were spreading out through the countryside, to bring "peace and protection" a la Kuomintang.
In later days when UNRRA members, missionaries, foreign businessmen and our consular staff men could come together to compare notes for that week, the stories were much the same from every part of the island. For the Government had decided upon a policy of pure terrorism. Anyone trying to hide or to run was doomed. For example, one foreigner saw a youngster riding his bike at breakneck speed through the streets, evidently trying to reach home, or perhaps speeding to his grandparents' home with messages. He was knocked off his bicycle. He was then forced to hold out his hands which were cruelly slashed, after which the Nationalist soldiers made off with the machine, leaving the boy bleeding and helpless in the street.
Looting began immediately. The soldiers made it a practice to beat upon closed doors, and then to cut down whoever chanced to open them. Other occupants of the house were fortunate indeed if they escaped unhurt.
On Sunday night I found my house crowded with friends seeking shelter which I gladly gave them. It was "irregular," of course. Throughout the following week came a steady stream of messages, queries, and entreaties addressed to members of the foreign community. All of the UNRRA staff and most of the consular community were left heartsick and bitter and angry.
The Government promptly undertook an intensive search formembers of the Settlement Committee, and for all editors, lawyers, doctors or businessmen who had taken an active part in preparing the reform program. Some were killed with great brutality. Unlike the few local Communists, Formosan leaders had had little or no experience in the arts of escape and concealment. Some managed to remain at large briefly, hiding in the outlying villages or skulking in the hills, and a few managed to leave the island. The majority, however, were captured promptly.
Wang Tien-teng, Chairman of the Committee, is believed to have been executed on March 13. Tan Gim, Columbia University graduate, banker, and head of a large Trust Company, was taken from a sickbed and done away with. The Min Pao editor, Lin Mou-sheng, another Columbia University graduate and former professor of the English and German languages, was dragged naked into the night and not heard of again. Gan Kin-en, owner and director of important mining interests, was seized and killed.
One Committee member, Huang Chao-chin, not only emerged unscathed from the "2-28 Incident," but greatly enriched as well. He was made Chairman of the Board of Directors of the First Commercial Bank of Taiwan, he remained Speaker of the Taiwan Provincial Assembly and became a member of the Central Committee of the Nationalist Party. He had acquired an almost professional status as the "representative Formosan" whose views all visiting Americans must hear. He would be an asset for days and years to come explaining away the "Incident."
On March 11 I was informed by a most reliable Formosan source that while the Settlement Committee was intensively busy in the preceding week, a substantial number of younger men had concluded it was hopeless to treat with Chen Yi, and had begun to develop an underground organization. When the troops began to land on Saturday night these youths were much better prepared to escape. While the more conservative older leaders were being captured, tortured and killed about town,the more determined resistance group leaders managed to go into hiding and ultimately escaped to Hong Kong, Shanghai or Japan, where they had developed contacts.
After the Committeemen on Chen Yi's vengeance lists came members of the youth organizations - the Loyal Service Corps, the students and teachers who had volunteered to take over policing duties when the mainland Chinese abandoned their posts on March 1.
A systematic search was made, based on the Service Corps enlistment rolls. If a student could not be found at once, either a member of his family was seized or a fellow student was taken to serve as hostage or as a substitute in death. Orders were issued requiring that all weapons be turned in, with a deadline for compliance. But simultaneously orders of equal weight were issued which forbade anyone to carry a weapon in the streets. How, then, was a young man in good faith to comply with these contradictory orders? If the house-search revealed a weapon, the entire household might suffer disastrously, and certainly the responsible youth would be shot. But if he were discovered in the streets on his way to turn in the weapons which had been issued to him by the Service Corps, he was equally certain to be liquidated.
After three days of random shooting and bayonetting in the Taipei streets the Government forces began to push out into suburban and rural areas. Machine-gun squads, mounted on trucks, were driven along the highroads for fifteen or twenty miles, shooting at random in village streets in an effort to break any spirit of resistance that might still be present, and to prepare the way for house-to-house search. The manhunt spread through all the hills back of Taipei.
By March 17 the pattern of terror and revenge had emerged very clearly. First to be destroyed were all established critics of the Government. Then in their turn came Settlement Committee members and their principal aides, all youths who had taken part in the interim policing of Taipei, middle school students, middle school teachers, lawyers, economic leaders and members of influential families, and at last, anyone who in the preceding eighteen months had given offense to a mainland Chinese, causing him to "lose face." On March 16 it was reported that anyone who spoke English reasonably well, or who had had close foreign connections, was being seized for "examination."
Many mainland Chinese at Taipei were of course shocked by the brutality of this campaign, but few were surprised. One prominent person, visibly moved, told me that he had witnessed the notorious "Rape of Nanking" by the Japanese in 1937, but that this surpassed it, for the Nanking rape was a product of war, a wild outburst of wartime passion, whereas this was coldly calculated revenge, perpetrated by the Nationalist Government upon its own people.
The Nationalist Government would like to have the world forget the March Massacres. Prominent Nationalist officials have since then continued to brush aside the subject as the creation of propagandists--Communists, of course--forgetting that there were foreign witnesses in every part of the island.
Chen Yi's vindictive pursuit of students repeated his earlier behavior in Fukien Province, where he perpetrated similar barbarities. The mainland Chinese normally revealed a dread of any confrontation with the Japanese or with forces efficiently trained by the Japanese. In the student body on Formosa the Nationalists faced not only hot-headed youth who were potential leaders in the community (such as the Fukien students had been) but a large corps of students who had actually had years of drill and orderly training under Japanese instruction. This was a double threat. Basically, too, the leaders in Chen Yi's generation of military men were-and are-fundamentally anti-intellectual. The ignorant warlord mistrusts the "clever" intellectual.
We saw students tied together, being driven to the execution grounds, usually along the river banks and ditches aboutTaipei, or at the waterfront in Keelung. One foreigner counted more than thirty young bodies - in student uniforms - lying along the roadside east of Taipei; they had had their noses and ears slit or hacked off, and many had been castrated. Two students were beheaded near my front gate. Bodies lay unclaimed on the roadside embankment near the Mission compound.
If searchers, with student lists in hand, could not find a wanted boy at home, some member of his family -a father, grandfather or brother - would be seized and dragged off. Families were too terrified to make a wide search for missing members, or too confused to know where their bodies might be found.
Fifty students were reported to have been killed at Sungshan and thirty at Peito on the night of March 9. By March 13 I was brought a report (which I considered reliable) that more than 700 students had been seized in Taipei in the preceding five days.
The UNRRA Accounts Officer (a stouthearted New Zealand girl, Miss Louise Tomsett) visited Taipei, Keelung and Tamsui, and reported on conditions at Peitou, site of the UNRRA residence:
I did not get into Taipei until Tuesday . . . to the Office, and
then called at the MacKay Hospital . . . Everywhere I was told tales of looting, shooting, murder and rape, and [I saw] trucks loaded with heavily armed soldiery and bearing mounted machine guns patrolling the city. Then it was decided that it may become necessary to leave the island and I was asked to . . . see the British Consul, [Geoffrey Tingle, at Tamsui] and find out if we could leave heavy baggage in store there. Jim Woodruff drove me down . . .
That same evening Hokuto [Peitou] seemed to have been raided, and heavy firing went on for thirty minutes, and afterwards Chinese soldiers searched the roads and bush systematically up past [the UNRRA hostel]. Large numbers of Taiwanese were on the move up to the hills and on a few walks I took I found many people living out in eaves. One man explained that soldiers had shot his father so he had brought his family up to relative safety away from the town. Apparently the soldiers did hunt some refugees out, as often - especially at night - short bursts of firing could be heard.
Towards the end of the week I made one trip to Keelung--buildings had been damaged and Taiwanese I spoke to told stories of wholesale shooting and looting. I did see Chinese police drag in the bodies of two men who had been shot, and Taiwanese standing about told me that very many bodies had been taken from the Harbor over the past week. 
For days the dead continued to be washed up in Keelung Harbor. The wharves and narrow beaches were a favored execution ground. Ignorant Nationalist soldiery apparently expected the tides to remove the bodies, but they merely floated about in the tidal currents within an enclosed port area. Foreigners observed small boats searching the harbor, towing bodies in where grief-stricken families waited to search for missing sons and brothers. Estimates varied of the number killed at Keelung alone in these few days, but the lowest figure placed the total about 300, and there is no reason to doubt this as a minimum figure.
On one occasion as he drove into Taipei Dr. Hirschy of the UNRRA staff saw a wounded man lying in the road, pleading for help. Although it was forbidden to stop while moving into the city, he and his aide took the chance. A Chinese officer and his men stood nearby. Hirschy asked for permission to carry the man into the hospital. The officer refused, but to save face promised to have the man sent in at once. Six hours later, when the doctor returned that way, the Formosan was still there, dead.
On March 10 the Acting Director of UNRRA (a Frenchman, M. Paul Clement) went on business to the Nationalist Army Headquarters at Taipei and there in the inner courtyards counted fifteen well-dressed Formosans, bound, kneeling, andwith necks bared, awaiting execution. At the other end of the island Mr. Allen Shackleton of New Zealand went to the local Garrison Headquarters at Kaohsiung to try to negotiate a truce of some sort in the midst of most atrocious acts of revenge and retaliation. General Peng Meng-chi was the Garrison Commander. In the grounds of the Headquarters Shackleton recognized a Formosan friend - a moderate leader who had done all that he could to prevent the outbreak of trouble between local Formosans and mainland Chinese, but now held as a "rebel." His crime, of course, was the fact that he was a prominent local leader who carried influence in the Kaohsiung community. Shackleton and his interpreter saw that he was cruelly trussed up. Sharp wires were twisted about his neck so that his head had to be held at an excruciating angle; when he tried to move, he was clipped under the nose by the bayonet of his guard. Obviously he was doomed.
The atrocities perpetrated at Kaohsiung were (if possible) even more revolting than the mass executions and torture used at Taipei to rid the Government of its most outspoken critics. For this General Peng Meng-chi is held responsible. The Generalissimo has since made him Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Nationalist Army, but throughout Formosa he is still spoken of in secret as "The Butcher of Kaohsiung."
Late in the week of March 10 we began to note that the revenge motif had become general. Any Formosan who had caused any newcomer severe loss of face in the preceding eighteen months was now fair game, if the offended mainland Chinese could persuade a soldier or gendarme or a policeman to take action. Any government officer who held a grudge could be revenged.
On March 15 there came to me the wife and two infant children of one of my former students, a friend who had given offense early in 1946 by attempting to expose a case of corruption in a Government office. He had not played a prominent part in the activities of the Settlement Committee, for he knewhe was a marked man in any case. Now as he was seized and carried off to oblivion he sent his small family to the American Consulate, certain that they would find protection. They had to be turned away.
The public prosecutor - a Formosan - who had directed proceedings against mainland police officers guilty of murder in Taichung in 1946, was now seized at Taipei by the convicts themselves, who had been released after March 8. The prosecutor was killed. The Formosan judge who had sat in this case was dragged from the Court offices and was reported to have been killed. The prominent doctor who had criticized the Tainan City mayor in a dramatic confrontation was slaughtered.
As the terror proceeded, even these tenuous involvements with the Government were no longer needed to "justify" vengeful murder. The Formosan lawyer who had won acquittal for the Japanese gynecologist Dr. Mukai in late 1945 was now seized and shot. At Keelung a minor employee of the Taiwan Navigation Company (an accountant), was taken out to the street in front of the offices and there shot before his assembled office colleagues; he had offended the Manager - an influential mainland Chinese - late in 1945 when he laughed and criticized the Manager's blundering attempts to drive an automobile.
At Kaohsiung there were incidents in which the victims' families were forced to witness cruel executions in the public streets. The nights in Taipei were made grim with the sounds of shooting, of screams, and occasionally of pleas for mercy heard as victims were driven along dark streets by the soldiery.
There were many instances wherein men threatened with death were able to buy survival or freedom. One Formosan who had exposed a twenty million yen peculation in the Government management of Textile Company accounts was seized but released when his father interceded with Pao Ko-yung, Commissioner of Mining and Industry, on the grounds that the son had once done Pao a favor, but such cases of favorable intervention were rare.
At Tamsui the British Consul and his staff observed the beginning of the terror in that seaside town. Several men were executed near the Consulate garden. A father reported that his son - a middle school boy - had been killed, and two of his companions badly wounded by a roving patrol. When the father sent an older son to recover the body, that son was seized, and neither he nor his brother's body were released to the father until he had paid over TY 3000 to the Nationalist soldiers who now controlled the town.
Doctors and nurses working at hospitals and emergency stations heard countless stories, and had bloody evidence of their truth lying before them. The Chief Medical Officer for UNRRA wrote later:
Boys were shot down from bicycles as they rode. One man who was sitting in his home reading his evening newspaper had his money, watch and a ring removed from his person by soldiers who entered his home, and then shot him through the back. The next morning as he was being carried in a stretcher to the hospital by his family, they were shot at, even as they entered the front door of the hospital - a Canadian Mission hospital . . . A working man returning home was confronted by soldiers who had him raise his hands, then searched his person. Not finding any money they ran a bayonet through his leg; then as he fell to the ground they demanded that be stand up, which he could not do. So they shot him in the head and departed. But they only shot off his ear and he was able to tell of his experiences the next day in the hospital ward. Governor Chen Yi announced over the radio that everything was at peace again, and asked all Formosans to open their shops and resume work. The next morning a half-dozen Formosans were pushing a cart of fish to market when Chinese troops opened fire on them from the roadside, killing some and wounding others.
In the city of Pintung where the inauguration of the brief people's rule was marked by the playing of the Star Spangled Banner on phonographs, the entire group of about 45 Formosans who were carrying on various phases of local government were taken out to a nearby airfield from which, later, a series of shots were heard. A Formosan who, representing the families of these people, went to the military commander to intercede for their lives, was taken to the public square and, after his wife and children had been called to witness the event, he was beheaded as an example to the rest of the people not to meddle in affairs which did not concern them. 
He told of circumstances at Gilam, southeast of Keelung, where during the uprising the Chinese Mayor, his officials, and all local Chinese police and military personnel retired to a mountain hideout. In their absence the leading citizens carried on public affairs. A Formosan doctor - a surgeon and director of the local hospital which had been rehabilitated by UNRRA - took a leading role in the Citizens Committee established to govern the community in the absence of all mainland officialdom. But when Chiang's troops came in, the (Chinese) Mayor and his men came out of hiding. Scores of local citizens were arrested. The director of the hospital, another doctor, five leading Committee colleagues, and more than one hundred "ordinary" Formosans were then executed.
To the last there was expectation that surely the United States would intervene, at Nanking or on the island, to stay the Generalissimo's revenge. Many UNRRA staff members reported this continuing hope born of desperation, and I shall not forget the wordless appeal in the eyes of four well-dressed young men who passed my gate and my protective American flag at midday on March 13. They were tied together by ropes attached to wires twisted about their necks, their arms were bound, and they were being hurried along toward the execution place on the banks of the Keelung River nearby. The ragged Nationalist soldier prodding them along at bayonet point saw the American flag on my jeep, and gave me the smartest salute he could manage. Here was the betrayal in its most simple terms; the Formosans looked to us for help, we armed and financed the Nationalists, and the Nationalists were making sure, if they could, that there would be no more appeals to the United States and "democracy."
Before we review the American position in this bloody affair, we must take note of Chiang Kai-shek's own "solution."
If there were any Formosans who still retained lingering trust in the Central Government, they were about to be disillusioned.
On March 10 at Nanking (less than two full days after the troops reached Formosa) the Generalissimo rose before members of the weekly Memorial Service (a Monday affair throughout the country) to defend Chen Yi and other members of the Government from public criticism. As usual he labelled all critics of his administration as "Communists." Here is the text:
Inasmuch as the cause of the unfortunate Incident which has occurred in Taiwan has been reported in various newspapers, I need not explain the details here. As a matter of fact, ever since Taiwan was reinstated last year, in view of the good public order in the Province, the Central Government has not chosen to send and station a large number of regular forces there. The maintenance of public order has been entrusted entirely to minor gendarme and police detachments.
For the last year our Taiwanese brethren in agricultural, commercial, and educational pursuits have sincerely expressed their law-abiding spirit and their support of the Central Government. Their patriotism and spirit of self-respect have never been less passionate than that of our brethren in any other province.
Recently, however, some Taiwanese who had formerly been conscripted and sent to the South Seas area by the Japanese and had engaged in the war, some of whom were communists, took advantage of the trouble incidental to the Monopoly Bureau's attempt to control cigarette stall-keepers and agitated the public. Thus they created a riot and submitted a request for the reformation of the government.
As the National Constitution is soon to be endorsed and, further, the administration of Taiwan ought to be put back on its normal lines as soon as possible, the Central Government has decided to grant as much authority to local governments as they are entitled to enjoy in accordance with the stipulations of the Constitution. Governor General Chen has already declared in compliance with instructions from the Central Government that the Government General of Taiwan should be converted into a regular provincial administration at a certain time in the future, and that the popular election of prefectural magistrates would be held within a certain period. All Taiwanese were very glad to accept this declaration. Therefore, the unfortunate Incident has already been settled. But unexpectedly the so-called Committee for Settlement of the February 28th Incident in Taiwan suddenly made impossible proposals which included the request that the Taiwan Garrison Command should be eliminated, that arms should be surrendered to the Committee for safe-keeping, and that Army and Navy personnel in Taiwan should all be Taiwanese. The Central Government naturally cannot consent to such requests which exceed the province of local authority. Moreover violent actions such as attacking government agencies were committed yesterday [March 9].
Therefore the Central Government decided to send troops to Taiwan for the purpose of maintaining public peace and order there. According to reports we have received, the troops have already safely landed in good order in Keelung yesterday evening. I believe that normal conditions can be recovered before long. At the same time, high officials are to be sent there in order to help Governor Chen in settling this Incident.
I have also strictly ordered the military and administrative personnel in Taiwan to calmly await the arrival of officials to be sent from the Central Government for the purpose of settling the Incident, and not to resort to any revenge action, so that our Taiwan brethren may be amicably united and cooperate.
I hope that every Taiwanese will fully recognize his duty to our fatherland and strictly observe discipline so as not to be utilized by treacherous gangs and laughed at by the Japanese. I hope Taiwanese will refrain from rash and thoughtless acts which will be harmful not only to our country but also to themselves. I hope they will be thoroughly determined to discriminate between loyalty and treason, and to discern between advantage and disadvantage; and that, they will voluntarily cancel their illegal organizations and recover public peace and order, so that every Taiwanese can lead a peaceful and happy life as soon as possible, and thus complete the construction of the new Taiwan.
Thus only can Taiwanese be free from the debt they owe to the entire nation which has undergone so many sacrifices and bitter struggles for the last fifty years in order to recover Taiwan." 
This soothing statement, full of fatherly reproof and advice, was printed up in leaflet form and dropped over the principal cities of Formosa on March 12, This was the end, so far as the Formosans were concerned. So long as Chiang Kai-shek, his family, or his Party and Army govern Formosa, this "betrayal" will not be forgotten nor forgiven.
Obviously Chiang's remarks were not prepared for the Formosans (he could not care less what they might think, now that his troops were firmly in control) but for the public at Nanking, and for the historical record - the wonderful Chinese historical record of benevolent acts piously undertaken by paternal government and carefully set down for posterity to admire.
The body of his statement presented the official view of the Incident, made for the record. His commentary thereon revealed much of the Generalissimo's own character and conception of himself as Leader. Criticism of the Party administration is "treachery" and treason justifies the most harsh punishment. "Thoughtless acts" probably refers to appeals to the United States and the United Nations which might "be harmful to our country." And then there is the problem of "face" and of revenge for loss of it. Chiang could not bear to be "laughed at bythe Japanese," and he knew the capacity of his own armed forces for revenge. This element of revenge for loss of face runs through all of the tragic story of Formosa after March 9.
We may never have accurate figures for the loss of life in the succeeding weeks, months and years. Each side exaggerated its losses in order to place the other in the worst possible light. it must be assumed that the bodies of hundreds were never recovered or identified. But by considering all the claims and the eyewitness accounts brought in by foreigners from every part of the island, we may reach an approximation. The mainland Chinese claims at that time ranged from a minimum figure of 30 to "more than 100" mainland Chinese killed. Many were beaten but not badly injured during the first few days of March.
Formosan leaders in exile charge that more than 10,000 were slaughtered in the month of March. I must assume that there could not have been less than 5000 and I am inclined to accept the higher figure. If we add to this the thousands who have been seized and done away with since March, 1947, on the pretext that they were involved in the affair, the number may reach the 20,000 figure often given by Formosan writers.
The Government has never relaxed its vengeful search; any "undesirable" can be picked up in 1965, charged with participation in the 1947 rebellion, and sent off to the notorious prison camp on Green Island (Lu Tao). According to the Chinese, it is used especially for the "Communist-inspired traitors" who sought external aid and intervention at that time of crisis.
* This may allude to the protection given to
Yen Chia-kan by old Lim Hsien-tang, in whose Taichung house
Commissioner Yen took shelter. Or did it refer to the assistance
given the Governor by such virtuous Formosan natives Huang
Chao-chin who had served him in the Settlement Committee
[Back to the text]
1. Hsin Sheng Pao (Taipei), March 9, 1947.
2. Taiwan Garrison Headquarters, Communique No. 131 (Taipei), March 9, 1947.
3. Hsin Sheng Pao (Taipei), March 11, 1947
4. Hsin Sheng Pao (Taipei), March :Li, 1947. Text also air-dropped by leaflet over Formosan cities.
5. Letter from Louise Tomsett (UNRRA-New Zealand) to Kerr, dated June 7, 1948.
6. Letter from Ira D. Hirschy, M.D. (Chief Medical Officer, UNRRA Taiwan) to E. E. Paine (UNRRA Reports Officer), n.d.
7. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, addressing the Weekly Memorial Services at Nanking, March 10, 1947. Text dropped by leaflet over the cities and towns of Formosa.