The massacre of 28th Feburary in Taiwan

The massacre of 28th Feburary in Taiwan



The massacre of 28th Feburary in Taiwan


Breaking the silence, the truth to be known; officials to be held accountable and their names to appear in the archives and history textbooks. That is essentially the greatest hope of the victims of the events of February 28th, 1947 in Taiwan, even as some survivors are preparing to celebrate their centenary.




Chen Chung Kung


What is the massacre of February 28th?

The killings started with the beating of a cigarette vendor by a policeman in Taipei. Throughout the island the population rose up. It was carnage, especially for the intellectual elite of Taiwan. The total number of victims remains controversial, but at least 10,000 Formosans, from of a population of six million people, perished in less than three months. These tragic events were the prelude to 40 years of merciless repression, a period called the "White Terror".


While the crimes of 1947 are engraved in the memories of those that suffered, and their relatives, their discussion was taboo for forty years in Taiwan. The result is a still limited bibliography to broach this massacre, and the period of martial law known as the White Terror that followed it. Despite being the second longest imposition of martial law in history, only scholars really know about this important part of Taiwanese history as it is poorly documented, both in writing and in visual media.


On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the events of February 1947, the time is ideal to make concrete a unique project of documentation in both the French and English languages.

Presented in a beautiful book, this documentary research combines the use of extensive photographic work, including a series of 15 portraits, with interviews and testimonies from surviving victims and the family members of victims. These reports give a voice to those directly related to this period. They also show the make up and the complex and rich identity of the territory of Taiwan and allow us to see that the country is still subject to profound ethnic and political divisions. These raw human testimonies, that have been silenced for too long, also show how the search for symbolic places is an integral part of remembering, and will be followed in this ambitious work.


During the commemorations for the 70th anniversary of these massacres, Agnes Redon and Nicolas Datiche went to meet not only the victims themselves, but also the relatives, citizens and politicians involved in the process of transitional justice, hoping to accompany the reader on a historical trip through Taiwan, during this relatively unknown period, thus opening the doors to an understanding of both the past and its contemporary implications.




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The special edition includes a calligraphic work exclusively written by Lu Ming Chi, who is a calligraphy master. Ms.Lu precisely captures the sense of heaviness of the 228 incident and the sadness of the surviving victims and survivors who were forced to keep silence for many decades, breathing life into the essence of the project-”Silence” with her calligraphic art.



Lu Ming Chi, born in Chia-Yi city in 1961, has studied calligraphy since she was eight and has become a legendary female calligraphist in the field. She studied under Li De Chang who was the founder of Xuan-Feng Calligraphy College when she was eight and then she followed Chen Chi Tian, a “national treasure” calligraphy master, in the following 26 years. She has mastered comprehensively in each type of script from “Regular Script” to “Cursive Script” and has a thorough knowledge of both ancient and modern calligraphic styles. Furthermore, she dabbles in literature, statuary art, painting, chinese boxing and music as well.


Her works emphasize “creative spirit” and she utilizes it to understand the artistic conception behind the phrases and poetries. What makes her work remarkable is that she immerses her personal sentiment into calligraphy and moves the brush close by her heart with the full vigor from her body to provide an ideal balance between the rhythm of her writing expression and the force behind it. Starting with a deep breath, the bold rhythms can be seen in each character and between the lines in her calligraphy, perfectly connecting all the elements of her work and making them full of the sense of rhythm and time as well as her sense of perspective. All these features make possible the fusion of harmony, nature, innovation and unified layout in her calligraphic works.


Lu Ming Chi has been accumulating her knowledge, skills and experience for more than a decade and making the effort to reach higher planes and infinite creativity by breaking the boundaries and by unleashing her imagination and ideas as well.   



Holding two Master’s degrees, one in modern letters at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, the second specializing in media sociology at EHESS, Agnès Redon has spent most of her career in Japan, after working in Paris and Lebanon, first as a field journalist for the magazine press, then for a more specialized press (on employment and training). At the beginning of 2013, she moved to Tokyo more permanently and regularly reports for magazines (Grazia, Madame Figaro, Néon, Le Parisien…). She is also a part-time lecturer on international journalism for the ESJ (journalism university). She also became a correspondent for the Radio Canada program, "Les Samedis du monde ".



Nicolas Datiche became interested in photojournalism in the final year of his studies in Japanese and international economics at Inalco (Paris). He subsequently joined a small news agency in Paris covering political and social news in the capital. Two years later, he joined Sipa Press agency and began working on general news.

In 2013, he decided to relocate to Japan to become Sipa’s first Japan correspondent, but also works as an independent photojournalist in the Archipelago and has worked on various reports in Japanesel, including a commission from Unesco on access to a school in Miyagi for children affected by the tsunami disaster of 2011 which will be part of a larger project by Sipa Press and UNESCO in the book "Paths to School" cataloging  the ways in which children go to school around the world. His photographs have been published in and commissioned by numerous press titles in France and the rest of Europe.




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