The Guardian
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Chiang statue beheaded as Taiwan marks ‘White Terror


A statue of Taiwan’s former leader Chiang Kai-shek was beheaded in another sign of growing fears over Chinese influence on the island as it marked the anniversary of a 1947 massacre that left thousands dead, reports said Sunday.

The massacre came after Chiang ordered his army to quell an uprising known as the 2/28 incident, sparked when an inspector beat a local female trader in Taipei for selling untaxed cigarettes. 

Thousands of people were tortured and shot dead by Chiang’s Kuomintang government during the subsequent crackdown, branded the “White Terror”. The exact death toll is unknown, but some estimates put it as high as 30,000. 

The killings became a source of lingering anger against the Nationalist party from China, fuelled by ongoing tensions between Taiwanese identity and mainland influence — tensions which are currently growing again as President Ma Ying-jeou works to strengthen ties with Beijing.

The bitterness has not subsided despite apologies by three presidents, including Ma, on behalf of the government since the 1990s. 

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