Free Formosa

The Search for Independence

FORMOSANS IN EXILE find opportunities sometimes to remind Americans of the year 1776. After one hundred and fifty years of haphazard colonial administration by agents of the British Crown the colonists demanded reforms including the right to home rule and representation. The demands were met by military action. During the rebellion and for long thereafter the colonists were bitterly divided among themselves but out of these difficulties and hardships a new nation was born.

The parallel is obvious - at least to the Formosans who lead in the search for independence. It is no accident that in the United States the United Formosans for Independence group made its headquarters at Philadelphia and that the organization's basic principles are these:

United Formosans for Independence is dedicated to the establishment of a free, democratic, and independent Republic of Formosa in accordance with the principle of self-determination of peoples.

We repudiate, therefore, all forms of totalitarian dictatorship, Chinese Communist or Nationalist.

The "smallness" of Formosa and the lack of experienced leadership are sometimes cited to belittle Formosan appeals for autonomy. Formosans answer that the American rebellion took place when the colonies had a population of less than four million, all told; Formosa had a population exceeding six million in 1947. As for area and wealth, technological development and educational facilities, the island exceeds many states represented in the United Nations. As for proximity to continental China, the Straits of Formosa are at least four times as wide as the Straits of Dover which make England an oceanic rather than a continental entity.

Leadership presents the great difficulty. Under the Japanese administration many individuals developed high competence in banking and land management, transport services and publishing, sugar manufacturing and forest industries, law and medicine, but none had been employed at the higher levels of administration in posts requiring general coordination of all these civic interests. The massacre was a numbing blow. Fortunately among those who survived and managed to slip away were many who had absorbed the ideals of the old Home Rule Movement. For years they had been thinking of the problems of local representative government.

These men - the old Home Rule Association members and men who were graduated in law, medicine and literature at the leading Japanese universities before 1945 - form the "elder statesmen" of today. In 1947 the Home Rule Movement became a search for independence.

Emerging Independence Leadership

For the men and women who escaped in 1947 Hong Kong offered the most secure temporary retreat. There British law kept both Communist and Nationalist agents under some restraint. Shanghai on the other hand was still Nationalist territory and Japan was under an Occupation in which the Nationalist Government took part. Some fortunate exiles had personal investments or bank accounts in Hong Kong, or could turn for help to friends and relatives already in residence there. Many were destitute and had to seek immediate employment in the crowded settlement.

What to do next? There were factions and quarrels, divisions and disagreements. We have already taken note of the disillusioned Formosans who went over to the Communists and soon enough made their way to the China mainland. Others plunged into intensive work on behalf of intervention, autonomy or independence. Some turned away from active participation but contributed what they could to finance dedicated leaders. Many simply sank into obscurity, glad to be alive, but ready to forego any further risks.

One characteristic which sets the Formosans apart from the mainland Chinese is a deeply emotional attachment to the island. I had often noted this when I was teaching in Formosa before the war and now it was demonstrated again and again. I will quote here from one of many letters which I received from Hong Kong, this one written in April, 1949, when the latest negotiations between the Nationalists and the Communists had broken down.

Now the fire opened again between Communists and Government, and some papers say about Formosa's future. I believe most of Formosans got tired of more than three years misgovernment.

Some one says "Formosa is Chinese, so that they cannot speak of Independence." [But] if it is true, we can say that it is the same American between England, [i.e. Formosans are "Chinese" in the same sense that Americans are "English"].

I believe that if United States want to help China, at first she must hold Formosa. If Formosans can build their own regular Government they not only can defend [themselves against] Communist, but also can help South China ...

Now I am in ... Hong Kong, because I do not like to go back to Formosa to see so much unpleasant circumstance. But if I can do something for Formosa I will do my best.

I expect you can do something for Formosa in near future, and your old students will welcome you again at our memorable beautiful island. [1]

For some time the Crown Colony continued to be an important way-station for persons slipping in and out of Formosa and passing from Shanghai to Japan. But the Colony, then in a most precarious position on the borders of Communist China, could not afford to permit Communist, Nationalist or Free Formosan organizations to stir up trouble within British territory.

Chiang knew this, and attempted therefore to prejudice the position of the exiles. Agents were hired in Kowloon and Hong Kong to stage trouble-making "incidents" (some of them of a serious and violent nature) which were then blamed on Formosan leaders. Through formal channels the Generalissimo demanded the extradition of individuals known to be seeking intervention. The British Government took no action. In due course, when the Occupation of Japan came to an end, many Formosans at Hong Kong removed to Japan, offering a rather bleak commentary on the "liberation" of Formosa.

Shanghai was a particularly dangerous place for advocates of intervention. There both Communist and Nationalist agents attempted to silence Formosan demands for UN action. At the time of the February Incident there had been thousands of islanders in Shanghai, but when news came of the uprising hundreds at once took passage for Keelung. We have seen on an earlier page that those left behind were ultimately forced to declare for Communism or face extinction.

Joshua Liao happened to be in Shanghai and Thomas was on Formosa when the uprising took place, putting an end to their dreams of local political education, reform, and reunion with China through federal arrangement. Their lives were spared, but their lands were lost, their families were endangered, and they were exiles once again.

In mid-March Thomas escaped to Hong Kong, where he urged local Formosans to assist incoming refugees. In August he addressed a petition to Lieutenant General Wedemeyer, asking for American help to secure relief for the island. At the same time his group at Hong Kong attempted without success to find some common basis upon which to work with the pro-Communist Formosan exiles. The doctrinaire Red leaders would accept no terms but their own; Formosa must be liberated by Communist force according to classic prescription. They would tolerate no appeals to the United States. They were then more interested in "proving" Marxist doctrine than in seeking freedom for their own people.

At Shanghai, late in the year 1947, Joshua Liao was arguing strongly against the proposal that trusteeship was the solution of the problem. This, he felt, would be a confession that Formosans were unable to govern themselves and it would delay indefinitely the day of Home Rule. A trusteeship, be said, was a prolongation of colonialism in a new guise. He still hoped Chiang Kai-shek would initiate the drastic reforms that were required to convert Formosa from a political liability to an economic and political asset for China. These views he published at Shanghai in early January, 1948, together with an analysis and outline of steps to be taken to achieve federal status. He wanted Formosa to stay within the Chinese frame of reference but to have freedom to develop as rapidly as its favorable geographic and economic position would permit. He proposed a provincial constitution modeled on the system of state constitutions in the United States.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the February Incident Joshua was suddenly thrown into prison at the Woosung Garrison Headquarters in Shanghai, accused of having instigated and participated in the Incident. He was charged with advocating American intervention and trusteeship and he was accused of association with radical (i.e. pro-Communist) Chinese. The first and second of these charges were patently untrue and the third was true only in the sense that Communist agents and sympathizers constantly sought to persuade him to cast his lot with them. When word of his arrest spread, his non-Communist associates fled Shanghai to gather around the younger Liao brother at Hong Kong.

An influential American brought the case to the attention of Dr. K. C. Wu, then Shanghai's Mayor. Wu in turn persuaded the Garrison Command to release Liao after an imprisonment of one hundred days, and he, too, left for Hong Kong.

In August the Liaos sent a group of younger Formosans to Japan to rally exiles there and to prepare appeals to foreign governments and the United Nations. The prison experience had brought home to Dr. Joshua Liao the futility of appeals to President Chiang Kai-shek.

The men going to Japan were instructed to develop public understanding there, using pamphlets, the daily press and public rallies to advance these arguments:

1.Formosa should be treated as Korea was then being treated. Formosans should be given American aid in establishing independence as an island people.

2.There should be a United Nations investigation of the misgovernment and maltreatment of Formosa after 1945. The record would justify intervention.

3.Formosans come of a mixed race, having no natural political bond with any nearby country.

4.Having suffered for half a century at the hands of the Japanese, Formosa should be represented at the Peace Conference. The island is not merely a piece of real estate to be handed about without reference to Formosan interests.

The fundamental argument was simple: Formosa belongs to the Formosan people. The Manchu Government in 1895 had no right to cede Formosa to Japan. Formosa had been sacrificed to save Peking. Now it was being sacrificed to serve Chiang Kai-shek's interests.

One theme used by the exiled group especially angered the Chinese at Taipei, and one suspects that not all Formosans were happy about it. This was the argument that Formosans are not pure Chinese but are a mixed race. Although Nationalist leaders might call the Formosans a "degraded people" when addressing them in anger, for world propaganda purposes the Nationalist claim to "instant reversion" rested on the assertion that the Formosans were Chinese in blood, language, and social institutions. They were members of the Han Race. It was unthinkable that the Formosans should now claim to have Indonesian, Malay, Spanish, Dutch, British, French, and Japanese blood flowing in their veins. Taipei would admit only to the presence of some aborigines of Malay or Indonesian extraction - a mere 150,000 of them - a primitive minority to which the mainland Chinese were bringing cultural salvation.*

To establish a clear Formosan identity entity the exiles began to employ a romanized form of the Amoy dialect when transliterating names from the Chinese characters instead of using the system employed by the Nationalists.

In the period 1947 to 1949 it was extremely difficult for them to sink faction and personal prejudice in a common cause. China itself presented such a vast drama of confusion no one quite knew what to expect or what course to advocate. Acrimonious debate led to the formation of ineffectual splinter groups upon which foreign newsmen began to comment unfavorably in stories for the American public. The pro-Chiang press was delighted to exploit the weakness.

In mid-summer 1948 the Liaos promoted formation of a "League for the Re-Emancipation of Formosa" which sent its first petition to the United Nations in September. It was an appeal for intervention, a temporary trust status, and an opportunity to prepare for independence. With this came the end of all attempts to work with the Leftists.

The League foundered in factional strife and bitter disputes between Dr. Thomas Liao and Miss Snow Red who insisted that only Communist China could and should give aid to Formosa. As one Formosan wrote to me, "Hence, the factions of Dr. Liao and Miss Chia cursed each other while the League was dying, and all left Hong Kong."

As the Nationalists retreated across the face of China in May, 1949, and world attention focused on Chiang's "retirement," Joshua Liao published a long statement predicting mutiny among unreliable Nationalist troops on Formosa. To prevent the extension of civil war to the island, he said, it would be necessary to bring in American forces to keep the Nationalists quiet and prevent a Communist sweep across the channel. A Formosan self-defense corps should be developed to enable island people to defend their homes and to act on behalf of the United Nations.

To Dr. Phillip Jessup at the United Nations he sent assurances that Formosans were prepared to fight for spiritual liberty as the Irish had so long fought to obtain independence, but be hoped it would not require so many years to achieve Formosan autonomy.

Thomas Liao flew to Manila to seek support among leaders there who had every reason to be deeply concerned with Formosa's fate. A series of articles soon appeared in the Manila press, and on October 14 the Philippines Minister at Tokyo and Representative in Korea (Dr. Bemarbe Africa) spoke up, advocating a plebiscite for the Formosan people. Said he:

The days when subject peoples are considered attached to the land as chattels are over. People are now considered more important than the land in which they live, and it is unfair to transfer them like personal property from one country to another.

When it became apparent that the Formosan Independence leaders were beginning to attract some international notice the Communists struck out at them with familiar invective. The Nationalists, on the other hand, for a brief period adopted a "soft" line, appealing to them to come home and take positions in the government at Taipei. Chiang's men were "running scared" at that moment in 1949; the big "reform" under Dr. Wu and General Sun was about to be advertised to the world.

In December the exiles at Tokyo addressed a seventeen-page appeal to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers asking for an immediate occupation of Formosa by Allied troops pending preparation for a plebiscite under international auspices.

This was embarrassing to SCAP, but coming as it did from unofficial bodies it carried no great weight. It was more embarrassing, however, to have a veritable flood of letters sent out from Independence Movement headquarters at Tokyo, addressed to an extraordinary variety of world figures - to Trygve Lie of the United Nations, to Jawaharlal Nehru, Sir Benegal Rau, Carlos Romulo, Dean Acheson, General Marshall, Senator Taft, and many others.

Some of these letters sought formal disavowal of the Cairo promises, some appealed for application of the terms of the Atlantic Charter, some asked for prompt action to stay Chiang's vengeful pursuit of all critics within Formosa and virtually all of them asked for a plebiscite. A plebiscite, they said, should offer them freedom to choose between (1) retention of the status quo, (2) union with Communist China without violence or (3) a United Nations trust status leading to complete independence.

Said Joshua Liao, "We'll obey the majority, but Chinese who came since V-J Day are not entitled to vote!" In the last letter I received from him before his death at Hong Kong in 1950 he wrote:

Dear George:

... Regarding the Formosa Problem, still ideas should be preferred to weapons for a solution. There's no reason why it could not be solved to the satisfaction of all parties concerned--not only the Formosans and Chinese, but also the surrounding democratic peoples like the Filipinos, the Koreans, the Americans, the Englishmen, and the Japs who intend to become "democrats." Time is on our side, I fairly believe. The Korean patriots waited 35 years. We won't have to wait so long . . .

Japan as a Refuge from Both Chiang and Mao

Henceforth the Independence Movement activity centered in Tokyo, with active groups in other metropolitan areas - Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Fukuoka. By 1949 it was estimated that more than one thousand Formosan expatriates were entering Japan each month. Some came in legitimately enough "on business" and then soon summoned their families to join them. Many were smuggled in.

All Formosans who had been born on the island between June, 1895, and September, 1945, could undoubtedly claim Japanese citizenship by birth. All who took refuge in Japan had been educated in the Japanese primary schools and thousands were graduates of Japanese higher schools and universities. They had no great difficulty in settling into community life and easily found places in Japan's burgeoning postwar economy. Some faded into the general community, assuming Japanese names. The majority entered quietly into the business and professional life of Japan's large cities. Estimates of the total number of Formosan exiles there run from 25,000 to 75,000. No reliable census is available. From this substantial well-educated urban group the Independence Movement draws sympathy and some cash support.

On the whole this large group of exiles was not unwelcome, for they gave little trouble; they had no desire to return to Formosa as long as Chiang was in control and they certainly had no desire to serve the Communists or to be dominated by them.

Their presence offered asylum for individuals fleeing from Chiang Ching-kuo's agents and so from time to time the Nationalist Embassy and the Chinese Consulates made it very difficult for the Japanese Government. We may anticipate our story to illustrate the point.

Just before President Eisenhower visited Taipei in 1960 a youth named Ko Shih-lin was arrested on Formosa. According to the Formosans in exile, he was distributing leaflets urging people to petition Eisenhower to intervene on behalf of the Formosan people. According to the Nationalists, he was plotting to assassinate President Chiang and Vice President Chen Cheng.

By a twist of luck the young man escaped and managed to stow away on a Swedish Maersk Line freighter at Keelung, sailing for Kobe, Japan. En route he was discovered. When the Swedish ship entered Kobe harbor he was handed over directly to officers aboard a Nationalist ship, the Chung Chao, lying at anchor there. This, of course, took place within Japan's territorial waters.

Ko was a prisoner aboard the Nationalist ship when it sailed for Keelung. As it moved southward a violent storm forced it into Kagoshima Bay for shelter and there Ko, handcuffed, eluded captors, leaped overboard and swam ashore. It was an extraordinary feat. When he sought help to have the handcuffs removed the local police had no choice but to arrest him for illegal entry. He was tried in the Kagoshima District Court.

The circumstances of the case attracted wide attention. The Nationalists, surprised that their erstwhile prisoner was alive, demanded that he be turned over to the Chinese Consul at Nagasaki. The Japanese knew well what his fate would be. Exercising their right to try him for illegal entry, they gave him a sentence of six months in jail, promptly suspended the sentence, and placed him on probation for two years. They did not order deportation. The Nationalists clamored for custody. Meanwhile many Formosans and Japanese petitioned the Minister of Justice, who canceled Ko's sentence, granted him political asylum, and directed that he be released.

This newsworthy incident dramatically advertised in Japan the truth that conditions within Formosa were producing a new generation eager for autonomy or independence. Taipei continues to press Tokyo on every technicality which may bring about the arrest and deportation of Formosans, and to Japan's embarrassment operates an elaborate Embassy and Consular intelligence apparatus in the metropolitan areas.

Japanese sympathies tend to lie with the Formosans on many counts. Chiang and his pretentions as a military genius have always been held in contempt. From a Japanese point of view, the Generalissimo is a puppet. Among the technical problems is the fact that the majority of Formosans living in Japan have a special right to claim political asylum by virtue of birth under the Japanese flag.

Beyond this, Tokyo must be deeply concerned with the question of Formosa's ultimate fate. Can it be settled in the United Nations before the advent there of a Communist Chinese member?

The "Provisional Government" at Tokyo

Among the voluntary exiles in Japan was the aged Lim Hsien-tang. We recall that he had been the living symbol of the Home Rule Movement for nearly forty years. His position was unique. All literate, adult Formosans knew with what great courage he had devoted his life and his fortune to the public welfare and the search for an honorable and effective Formosan representation in local government. They remembered that in the 1920's the Japanese police on Formosa had slapped Lim's face in public in an attempt to humiliate him, they had fined him, jailed him and persecuted his associates in an attempt to silence reasonable appeals for representative forms of government and political equality for the Formosan people. After 1930 wiser heads at Tokyo and Taipei had brought him into the Japanese Governor's Council and at last began to grant the forms if not the substance of local elective representation. In a belated and desperate wartime effort to woo Formosan loyalty, the emperor had appointed Lim to the House of Peers.

The Chinese knew his position, and in 1945 summoned him to Nanking to represent Formosa at the formal Surrender ceremonies. But as soon as Chen Yi took office it became apparent that Lim was to be ignored. He withdrew to the background, and not long after the March massacre he went up to Tokyo, pleading an illness which required medical attention in Japan. While not publicly disavowing the Nationalist Party regime, he prolonged his visits to Japan, and in his last years saw the development of a Formosa Independence Movement under a new leadership in a new generation.

This retreat to Japan was interpreted as a bitter rebuke to the Chiang organization at Taipei. When word of his death at last reached Formosa it was promptly suppressed, and Lim's son was sent at once to bring the ashes home to Taichung. There the event was announced and the funeral held. Then Chiang's agents began to spread rumors that Lim had led a dissolute life in his later years and was not at all the model of devotion to Formosan welfare which the public had so long believed him to be. On the contrary (so the allegations went) he had been a notorious "running dog" of the Japanese.

The active Independence Movement leaders were all marked men. Taipei was embarrassed and furious when these "degraded" people left Hong Kong and turned back to Japan for security of life and freedom of speech. Unfortunately for themselves, Dr. Liao and his associates were indiscreet, or politically naive, for they set about organizing political action in Japan to secure the overthrow of a government at Taipei which was a "Great Power" member of the Allied Control Commission.

Thomas Wen-yi Liao entered Yokohama from Hong Kong in February, 1950, to begin a tour of major cities. At a rally in Kyoto he made an attack upon Chiang Kai-shek which the watchiing Nationalist agents could not ignore. In mid-March an association of Tokyo newspapermen invited Liao to speak in the city's principal auditorium (Hibiya Hall), thus offering an important opportunity to state the case for intervention.

On the day before the lecture he was suddenly arrested by American military policemen, taken before a Military Court, tried on charges of illegal entry, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment to be followed by deportation.

In this abrupt fashion he learned that he was in MacArthur's Japan and that words spoken against Chiang Kai-shek were tantamount to lese majeste. The sentence was imposed and imprisonment began within twenty-four hours of his arrest.

While he languished in Sugamo Prison for war criminals his case began to attract the attention of prominent Americans at Tokyo. There was a prolonged debate, for all knew that deportation to Formosa was a sentence of certain death for Dr. Liao,

A compromise was reached; when released Liao was not hustled off to the port but was placed under a mild house arrest in Tokyo, which he agreed to accept. As the case was being discussed with some acrimony in the American community Liao quietly disappeared, to remain out of sight until the Peace Treaty came into effect and neither General MacArthur, his successors, nor his democratic ally at Taipei were in a position to press effectively for extradition. Japan granted him political asylum.

While he was imprisoned, Liao's associates went ahead with plans to organize a Taiwan Democratic Independence Party, naming Liao the Chairman, in absentia. It is beyond the scope of this account to trace the complex stories of faction and compromise, grouping and re-grouping which took place thereafter. There was pressing need to achieve solidarity of purpose and planning, but progress was slow.

When the series of international crises developed in the Formosan Straits - when Mr. Dulles was practicing brinkmansbip with such daring disregard of Allies other than Chiang Kai-shek - the British became especially concerned because of the vulnerable Crown Colony nearby, and because of the dangers of general war. They sought a legal basis for interference. Anthony Eden wrote that "The Allies approved Chiang's occupation, but this did not constitute legal transfer." The London Times published a series on the legal status of Formosa, and Canada's Foreign Secretary (Lester Pearson) proposed an international conference to treat the problem.

Dr. Liao felt the need for a more substantial symbol of resistance within Formosa and of the vitality of the Independence Movement overseas. He insisted that the Formosans themselves must he represented and heard in any negotiations concerning the island's future.

On September 1, 1955, Liao's Party formed a Commission of thirty-three members which in turn sought out exiled representatives for each of the twenty-four principal cities and districts of Formosa to constitute a "Provisional National Congress of the Republic of Formosa." In the following year, on February 28, 1956, this "Congress" inaugurated a "Provisional Government." Not unexpectedly, Dr. Liao was named First President.

A flag was designed and adopted and a great many slogans were developed while the leaders waited through long days and weeks and months for a major change in world affairs to bring them forward. Late in 1956 Dr. Liao produced a volume in Japanese entitled Formosanism designed to provide a theoretical basis and doctrinal text. It was eagerly read by Formosans everywhere in exile. It gave them much to consider in reviewing the island history, but it drew heavily on a certain mystical element not much to the taste of younger men. They were not fired by great admiration for the old 17th-century freebooter Koxinga who had founded the Kingdom of Formosa and claimed to be a "Ming loyalist." The younger men were not prepared to spend money and energy on parades and rallies throughout Japan honoring a dubious 17th-century hero. Moreover, Koxinga's little island kingdom of long ago had not survived.

New Voices Overseas

Dr. Liao's associates began to drift away from him, turning to younger leaders. Formosan students overseas began to meet seriously for discussions of the future, rather than the past. They were conscious that the leadership and technical skills required to replace the aging refugees on Formosa would have to be found in their own rising generation. They were also aware of a growing sense of discontent and frustration among contemporaries who were being graduated but were leaving the schools to find no employment worthy of their education and capacities.

In 1950 there were about fifty Formosans studying in the United States. By 1960 there were at least 554, and the number grows steadily. Small scattered campus clubs began to merge, forming three larger regional affiliations in the western states, the Middle West and on the eastern seaboard. In 1960 they agreed to form an overall body which they called simply Formosan Clubs in America, a non-political organization devoted to the welfare and intellectual growth of all Formosans studying in the United States.

But where there are students there must be political discussion. A group calling itself "Formosans for Free Formosa" began to meet quietly in the Philadelphia area. As the Formosan foreign-student population grew in numbers the group grew with it. The majority came directly from Formosa and were not the sons of exiles in Japan. They had passed very stiff competitive examinations at Taipei and knew that for every moment of residence abroad most of them were under close surveillance by Chinese Embassy agents and by fellow students whose Government scholarships were designed to place informers in their midst. In 1960 the Philadelphia group discussing Formosa's political fate reorganized to make itself known publicly as the United Formosans for Independence which has been cited and quoted on earlier pages. Soon it was publishing a quarterly journal, the Ilha Formosa, or Beautiful Island.** To this was then added a small newsletter for students, called the FORMOSAgram. The leaders of the so-called "UFI" acknowledged indebtedness to Dr. Liao in Tokyo, and were in a general way committed to support the "Provisional Government" group.

In 1963 Formosan students in Canada organized as a League for Self-Determination of Formosans. In 1964 a much weaker student group with political interests made its appearance at New York. Under the name Formosan Readers Association, it proposed to distribute reading materials in Japanese and English in a periodical pamphlet entitled Taiwan Lang or "The Formosan."

An "Appeal for Justice"

Although Tokyo remained the center for protest and publication, and the rallying point for all Formosans opposed to the Nationalist regime, Dr. Liao's "Provisional Government" group began to lose support. The "Provisional President" had become too dogmatic, too inflexible, too sure that he alone was qualified to represent Formosan interests before the world. He was indeed the only expatriate Formosan well known abroad.

To brighten that image Liao left Japan to travel briefly in Europe, Canada and the United States, but while he was renewing friendships and making himself known to persons who might one day be concerned with the Formosan Question, a strong secessionist movement set in at Tokyo.

New organizations appeared whose leaders competed for recognition and support. Problems of "face" and faction produced many splinter groups, weakened by an inability to agree on procedures. The most important new organization was the Taiwan Chinglian Hue, the "Taiwan Youth Association" which presented itself to the public in 1960, in February, the month now consecrated to the memory of all who died in 1947. The Hue founded a monthly Japanese-language journal, the Taiwan Chinglian or "Taiwan Youth" to keep Formosans in Japan and the Japanese public informed of events bearing on the Independence Movement. A second journal for the same purpose, the Toklip Taiwan, carried the same material in romanized Fukien dialect. For the benefit of foreign readers the Hue called itself in English "The Formosan Association" which published the Formosan Quarterly and its successor, the Independent Formosa.

Formosans living abroad who call openly for the downfall of the Chiang regime, a plebiscite under UN supervision, and a government of Formosa by Formosans, obviously place themselves in an extremely vulnerable position. In September, 1964, came a sharp reminder of Chiang Ching-kuo's attitude toward Formosan intellectuals tainted by democracy and critical of the Taipei dictatorship. A distinguished young professor of the National Taiwan University and two of his former students were seized one Sunday afternoon as they were drinking tea and discussing Formosan problems. The Garrison Headquarters merely announced that they had been arrested for "destructive activities"; foreign press dispatches said that they were accused of "Independence Movement agitation." For a period of five months nothing more was heard of them and it was rumored that they were dead.

But across the world questions were raised in New York and Boston, and in London. There were letters to the press and queries behind the scene at Washington, for Dr. Peng Ming-min is well known as an authority on International Law relating to air-navigation and space and in his earlier days had distinguished himself in the schools of Japan, Canada and France. [2]

Suddenly the Taiwan Garrison Headquarters announced that Peng and his friends had been tried on charges of "treasonous conspiracy to bring about local rebellion" but that as an act of clemency their lives had been spared; they would serve long prison terms.

This "clemency" gesture was widely interpreted to mean the Chiangs at Taipei had been reminded that Peng's fate was a matter of international interest and was drawing attention to Formosan unrest under Nationalist rule. Professor Peng and his friends were spared as the editor Lei Chen had been spared, and as former Governor Wu and Lieutenant-General Sun Li-jen had been spared because each was well known abroad and each had influential friends in America. Lesser critics of the regime who have no friends at Washington - Su Tung-chi for example find no such support and vanish without significant notice.

But what to do about Dr. Thomas Liao, living beyond reach at Tokyo? In the United States and Canada Liao was widely accepted as the principal spokesman for all the Independence Movement organizations and all Formosans determined to prevent General Chiang Ching-kuo's extra-legal succession to the dictatorship at Taipei. Liao's existence as a symbol of Formosan discontent would become a major embarrassment in 1966 when presidential elections must be held on Formosa. The aging Generalissimo was expected to retire only if he could ensure the succession to his son. All pretense of democratic processes would be swept aside if need be to ensure the dynastic succession, but it would be easier and safer if an appearance of legitimacy could be arranged. Steps must be taken to prevent violent local protests and possible international intervention. Taipei must not become a "second Saigon." General Chiang Ching-kuo must be elected in a contest from which Formosan voters cannot be barred in great numbers. They must therefore be prevented from voting against Chiang Ching-kuo en bloc. They must be persuaded that the Independence Movement crusade preached by the exiles in Tokyo has become a lost cause.

In 1963 Dr. Liao lost the support of his oldest and closest associates who declared that they could no longer agree with his policies nor accept his dictatorial manner. Soon others drew away to associate with the newer organizations and younger men. Liao began to speak openly and very bitterly of "Formosan ingratitude."

Taipei promptly recognized an opportunity to create confusion. In 1964 Chiang's agents approached Liao with offers of an amnesty, a welcome at Taipei, a high post in the Nationalist Government and perhaps a choice of presidencies among important companies other than the sugar and power companies - T. V. Soong's old interests.

Before these tempting offers Liao hesitated a long time. Should he allow chagrin, anger, family interests and personal ambition to outweigh his obligation to a "cause" so long maintained and so important to the Formosan people?

The dawn of 1965 brought the election year (1966) very close, but still Liao hesitated. Taipei felt urgent need to neutralize the Independence Movement organizations at Tokyo and to create confusion among the electorate on Formosa. A cruel trap was prepared for Dr. Liao.

In February, 1965, Liao's sister-in-law was sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment on conspiracy charges and a favorite nephew was condemned to death for "treason." Liao, at Tokyo, was then given to understand that the nephew's life would be spared and the sentences reduced if he would return to Taipei and give open support to Chiang. Moreover his own large properties would be restored to him. It is alleged that Liao was also told that he might be asked to serve as Special Advisor to the Chinese Delegation at the UN, that he might be offered the governorship of Formosa, or that General Chiang Ching-kuo might even ask him to become his vice-presidential running mate in the forthcoming campaign.

Without forewarning his associates, Dr. Liao flew to Taipei on May 14. There he at once pledged ardent and unwavering support for Chiang Kai-shek and began to publish a torrent of articles explaining his dramatic new position. The Nationalists applauded and the controlled press gave credit for this coup to the wisdom of General Chiang Ching-kuo.

Liao's foreign friends were baffled by this turn of events. In Japan, Canada and the United States Formosan exiles met to discuss the implications of Liao's defection. None would condemn him for attempting to save the life of his nephew, unless, perhaps, the nephew himself feels betrayed. Some optimists at Tokyo believe that Liao "entered the tiger's cave to capture the tiger" and that he hoped to strengthen underground organizations in anticipation of a presidential election crisis.

Chiang Ching-kuo was not unaware of this possibility. A few days after Liao's appearance at Taipei Chiang's security forces conducted an island-wide house-to-house check of unprecedented thoroughness. Letters and documents taken up in the search were expected to yield private comment on the Liao affair.

Meanwhile the exiled Formosans pondered the future. Would Liao's support of Chiang Ching-kuo split the Formosan vote disastrously in the forthcoming election? Would this enable Chiang Ching-kuo to succeed "legitimately"? And if he becomes President by means of a rigged election will he then turn from Washington to Peking?

An exiled Formosan put the issue in these terms:

Chiang Ching-kuo is a Chinese nationalist more than a Nationalist. His chief mission is to see that the island always remains a part of China. When he takes over the mantle of power from his father, he is expected to enter an all-Chinese negotiation for the permanent settlement of Formosa. [3]

During his father's lifetime will he promise Formosan neutrality to both sides "in the interests of World Peace"? Upon his father's demise will he follow General Li Tsung-jen into the Communist camp? Does he prefer a future in association with a powerful China and an arsenal of nuclear weapons under Chinese control or will he be willing to continue forever dependent upon a fickle American Congress for arms and political support? As a Chinese trained from his youth in Communist totalitarian methods would he be more comfortable as a puppet dependent upon Peking?

Formosan exiles fear and mistrust elections held under the Taipei Government. What (they say) will the United States do if a rigged election leads ultimately to a declaration that Formosans desire to revert to China? What will Washington do if Taipei asks the United States to withdraw from its position on the island?

In an "Appeal for Justice" addressed to the American people Formosan leaders have warned that unqualified support for Chiang since 1945 has damaged American prestige although, in a future crisis, the United States may need the goodwill and local cooperation of the Formosan people.

More than frequently we are tempted to accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy in declaring her opposition to any form of dictatorship and, at the same time, supporting the Chiang Government, one of the most dictatorial regimes in Asia. Yet we earnestly believe that the true interests of the United States lie in Formosa itself, and that her support of Chiang is only temporary. It is this belief that has kept alive our confidence in the U.S. and our hope for eventual support from Washington for our cause of independence.

We demand, in short, an immediate U.N. Trusteeship over the island, to ensure the freedom of campaign in which all the inhabitants will hear the voice of every faction and determine in a plebiscite that follows, the future of the island. We are confident that the overwhelming choice in such a plebiscite will be independence. [4]

contents of Formosa Betrayed

* At the United Nations China's representative Dr. Tsiang assured newsmen that there were only 150,000 "native Formosans" and that all others were Chinese.
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** The original Portuguese name by which the island was first known to the Western World
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1. Letter to Kerr, dated at Hong Kong, April, 1949.

2. [Editorial] "We Appeal to the World on the Arrest of Professor Peng Ming-min," Independent Formosa, Vol. 111, No- 3, (Tokyo, Oct., 1964), pp. 1-2.

3. "Formosa Inside Out," Ilha Formosa, Vol. I, NO. 3 (Philadelphia, Winter issue, 1964), p. 22.

4. [United Formosans for Independence] Appeal for Justice (Philadelphia, March, ig6o), 3 pp. Mimeo