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CHINESE CRACKDOWN RECALLS HORROR ON TAIWAN

By Clayton JonesStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / June 21, 1989



TAIPEI, TAIWAN

The Beijing massacre sent shivers through many older Taiwanese, not only for its horror, but as a reminder of a similar mass killing on Taiwan 22 years ago. In what is known here as the ``2-28'' incident, the Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-shek violently suppressed Taiwanese natives starting on Feb. 28, 1967. Protesting crowds were gunned down and intellectuals systematically slaughtered. Estimates of the death toll range from 5,000 to more than 20,000.

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``The government has never said 2-28 was a mistake,'' says Tenray Chou of The Journalist newsmagazine. ``If they did, people would appreciate it.''

To apologize now, says Deputy Foreign Minister John Chang, would just arouse strong emotions. After all, he adds, many mainlanders and Taiwanese have intermarried.

But ``many young people are demanding'' some acknowledgement, says political science professor Bertrand Tsai Cheng-Wen. He says President Lee Teng-hui, the first native Taiwanese to hold the post, may soon request a probe of the incident.