The 228 Incident was a military crackdown on civilian protests that
broke out on Feb. 28, 1947, against the KMT administration. Historians
estimate that around 30,000 people were killed.
It originated from a female cigarette vendor who illegally sold
cigarettes to make ends meet. While confiscating smuggled cigarettes
on Yen-ping North Road in Taipei City, the Tobacco Monopoly Bureau
injured her and mistakenly killed a bystander.
Crowds demonstrated in protest, demanding punishment of the killers.
They were, however, met with gunfire, igniting a fury of widespread
public protest across the island. To resolve the conflict, Chen Yi
-- then chief executive officer of the Taiwan Provincial Government
-- requested military assistance from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek,
who later dispatched military troops to Taiwan.
As tens of thousands were either killed, injured or went missing
within months of the crackdown, residents of Keelung, Taipei, Chiayi
and Kaohsiung suffered the greatest losses.