Painful memories of the 2-2-8 massacre were brought to the fore as Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je wept during ceremonies marking the anniversary of the event while recalling his grandfather, who died as a result of torture during the incident.
The 228 Incident began on February 27, 1947 with the beating of a contraband-cigarette vendor by a local police officer and led to widespread Taiwanese protests against KMT abuses of power in the period following the end of Japanese colonial rule. A crackdown by Nationalist troops then left more than ten thousand Taiwanese dead and marked the beginning of martial law and the White Terror in Taiwan. During his address at the 228 Memorial Park, Ko frequently broke down in tears as he recalled the pain his family felt from losing his grandfather, who died three years after the incident from the injuries he had sustained. News reports indicated that following the speech, Ko appeared to reject President Ma’s handshake, although Ko later said he had not intended to snub the president.