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owner and director of important mining interests, was seized and
killed. (Kerr, 298)
Students were also regarded with suspicion by Nationalist ruffians
and liquidated in large numbers:
We saw students tied together, being driven to the execution grounds,
usually along the river banks and ditches about Taipei, or at the water-
front 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.
(Kerr, 300-01)
Mainlander violence against native Taiwanese was at times startlingly
petty and vindictive and was perpetrated out of spite or to settle old
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. (Kerr, 304)
The exact number of people murdered in the February 28 bloodbath
may never be known precisely, but according to Kerr it is at least in
the several thousands:
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. (Kerr, 310)
The Nationalist government on Taiwan quickly took steps to
improve its image and public relations in the wake of the February 28
disaster. In 1948 the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction, com-
posed of Chinese and American members, began planning for the
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