The Taiwan Publishing Co. has chosen a most appropriate time in the history of Formosa to make this book, Formosa Betrayed, widely available to those concerned about the future of that beautiful and embroiled island. An appropriate time indeed, when in Formosa a native Formosan has been installed as President. This unprecedented political development may signify for Formosans the beginning of a new era, where their long-held dream of liberation from their long-reigning oppressors may be realized through democratization and further social, cultural and economic evolution.
In the process of rebuilding a new democratic Formosa, serious effort should be made to redress the damage and injustice done to the land and people of Formosa for the last 43 years. It is essential to re-examine the various forces which brought about the Formosan's capitulation to an all powerful dictatorial government. Since the beginning of the Chinese occupation of Formosa in October, 1945, the ruling party has consistently maintained a policy of dis-crimination against the native Formosans while rooting out their sense of identity through the prohibition of public use of their native language and teaching of Formosan history and culture, all under the policy of glorifying China and Chinese culture to the exclusion of Formosa and its culture, which were deemed to be but an insignificant part of the greater Chinese panorama. The numerous political slogans used by the KMT Government to bolster the morale of Chiang's followers since 1949 until today, ranging from "Fight against Communist Bandits," "Reconquest of the Mainland," "Unification of China under the Three People's Principles" to "One China, Two Governments," etc. are all double-edged, with one edge explicitly or implicitly directed at the native Formosans in order to ensure their continued submission to dictatorial rule.
George Kerr, largely through his insightful observation of the tragedy of the Feb. 28 Incident, 1947 and its aftermath, clearly identified the forces at work which led to the subjugation of Formosa. His careful, accurate and balanced reports went to Nanking and thence to Washington, The truth revealed in those reports, the truth about the KMT's policy and activities in Formosa, shocked those in government who saw the reports. It is regrettable that, because of the propaganda counterattack launched by the China Lobby in the United States, his reports did not gain wider public exposure. It was only in 1965 that George Kerr managed to publish Formosa Betrayed, which drew much of its content from those first hand reports of his observation and encounter in Formosa during and after the Incident of February 28, 1947.
The content of this volume has given the reader a great deal to learn, think and reflect upon even 27 years after its publication and 45 years after the February 28 Incident. George Kerr's insights in the true nature of Formosa's post-war history were born of his long association with Formosa. I had known him since his first visit to Formosa before World War II when he had taught English at the Taihoku-Kotogakko, where I was then a student although unfortunately I did not study with him. In his second visit to Taipei as Vice-Consul of the American Consulate from 1945 to 47, I saw him again and heard a great deal about him from my father, Lin Bo-seng, who frequently met with him.
I recall vividly my emotional reunion with George Kerr in Honolulu some 19 years after he had left Taipei, with no opportunity for leavetaking, shortly after the February 28 Incident. He came to see me at the East-West Center where I was co-chairing with Dr. William Cardill at a conference on Mental Health Research in Asia and the Pacific. He presented me with a copy of the recently published Formosa Betrayed and embraced me while saying "Tsung-yi... I often thought of your father and your family while writing this book..." "I hope that this book of mine will help the Formosans liberate themselves and democratize the country, you people deserve better." His love for Formosa and Formosans greatly moved me and made me respect all the more this friend of Formosa. His words of you people deserve better," serve as the best commentary on the content of this book, while pointing out the long struggle ahead in achieving the goal of democratization and self-determination. The historical reality of General Wedemeyer's report as quoted in this volume is perhaps more keenly felt now that change has began to stir on Formosa: "Chen Yi and his henchmen ruthlessly, corruptly and avariciously imposed their regime upon a happy and amenable population. The Army conducted themselves as conquerors. Secret police operated freely to intimidate and to facilitate exploitation by Central (KMT) Government officials."
Unfortunately, Formosans have suffered the same posture and highhanded horror tactics of the KMT rulers who have subjugated the Formosans as subordinates for close to 40 years, 37 years of them under martial law until 1987.
The devastating impact of such political oppression on the Formosan citizens has now become clear to many concerned with the future of Formosa, as the ill effects have come to affect all aspects of human life including education, the economy, industrial and technological development, social security and national identity.
There seem to be two major obstacles to democratization of Formosa: one if the still fragile political strength of the ruled Formosans who tend to value temporary safety or seeking immediate material gain for survival over long-term political struggle which often requires certain sacrifice, and the other is the tenacious adherence to the old feudal-emperor concept of the ruling party conservatives.
In this connection I am reminded of the brief note I put down on my diary after seeing the movie "The Last Emperor." The note simply says, "A good and interesting movie, but a wrong title." By a wrong title I meant that Pu-yi was not the last Emperor of China; there have been many since, although some of them did not have the official title of Emperor. One would include among them, Yuan Si-kai, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Each of them certainly behaved as emperor and wanted others to so treat him. The tradition of authoritarianism of the ruler is still deeply engrained in the minds of both the rulers and the ruled in Chinese culture. A forceful example of this can be found as recently as June 4, 1989 at Tienanmen Square. For the rulers, only glory and power count. Human rights, freedom or equality or respect for the lives of people have to surrender to the might of the rulers.
In the face of similar timeworn attitude and beliefs it will require an enormous courage and persistent organized effort on the part of the enlightened public to keep democracy moving ahead in Formosa. Though still at an early stage, the Formosans have begun to show increasingly stronger interest in participating in the political struggle for self-determination, i.e. to be responsible for managing their own political affairs. They are giving even clearer expressions of aversion to being treated as second class citizens and being excluded from any effective voice in the political system. The hope for democratic political maturation in Formosa appears brighter now than in the past.
There is another extremely important international perspective bearing upon the republication of Formosa Betrayed. The world today is being swept by the storm of "democratization" as dictatorial regimes have been toppled throughout the world-foremost as seen in the East European countries and in the USSR. Knowledge of its own all too tragic past may help to open the tide of democratization in Formosa as well. I have every confidence that a democratic Formosa will play a greater role in East Asia as an example for the region and for the world. I sincerely welcome the second edition of George Kerr's decisive and important work.
Tsung-yi Lin, M.D., F.R.C.P.C,
Professor Emeritas of Psychiatry,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B. C. Canada
Honorary President, World Federation for Mental Health