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Colin Shackleton presents the book of his father's manuscript, which documents attrocities he witnessed during the 1947 2-28 Incident.

New Zealander donates account of 228

HISTORICAL RECORD: The 228 Museum has said the manuscript will be available to the public and researchers

By Monique Chu

The son of a New Zealander donated his father's manuscript titled Formosa Calling, Chronicle of Taiwan's 2-28 Incident, to the 228 Memorial Museum in Taipei yesterday, on the eve of the 53rd anniversary of the 1947 massacre.

"It's a great pleasure to donate this manuscript to the people of Taiwan. If my father were here today, I am sure he would be greatly honored," said 63-year-old Colin Shackleton at a ceremony held in the 228 Memorial Museum.

Also donated to the museum were his father's photos taken during his stay in Taiwan from 1946 to 1947, and the typewriter he used to produce the manuscript.

At the ceremony, Lap Phok-bun (դ), director of the museum, presented an acknowledgement to Colin Shackleton, expressing the museum's appreciation for his generosity. Lap said the archives would be used for public display and research.

"It's a very moving moment," said Colin Shackleton.

Allan James Shackleton wrote the manuscript about his post-war experiences in Taiwan as a UN rehabilitation officer. A portion of the manuscript focuses on his eye witness accounts of the 1947 tragedy, detailing atrocities that took place in southern Taiwan.

"He was concerned about the unfortunate things that took place at that time. But unfortunately nobody would publish the book, so the manuscript was simply a family file for almost 50 years," Colin Shackleton said.

It was not until 1998 that the original English version was published. Last June, the Mandarin version of the book was published in Taiwan. Wu Mi-cha (dK), a historian on Taiwan history at the National Taiwan University, said Shackleton's account of the massacre was of great value to researchers.

"Shackleton's book is a precious historic record made by a foreigner, a third party who wrote about what he saw merely out of conscience, an account that had nothing to do with his personal interest," Wu said.

The 228 Incident refers to the KMT's bloody crackdown on civilian demonstrations in 1947 that followed an incident in Taipei on Feb. 28 of that year. KMT-Led troops, who had retreated to Taiwan from China two years before after losing the Chinese Civil War, carried out a crackdown which led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of Taiwanese. The massacre is said to have wiped out almost all of Taiwan's intellectual middle class.

Stanley Liao (R), former president of the New Zealand Taiwanese Association, was one of the persons behind the scenes that made the buried manuscript no longer a mere family file. George Kerr's 1965 book titled Formosa Betrayed mentioned Shackleton as one of his sources consulted concerning the 1947 tragedy.

"Through the Internet, I had been told of this manuscript. So I telephoned everyone with the surname Shackleton throughout New Zealand," Liao said.

The museum will hold a series of events and activities to commemorate the tragedy. For more information, please call the museum at (02) 2389-7228 or search the Internet at

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