Among the political cases of the 1950s, those involving the Taiwan Provincial Work Committee, set up by Tsai Hsiao-chien, who was dispatched to Taiwan by the CCP’s East China Bureau, were the most pervasive and implicated the most people.
In August 1945 the Chinese communists sent Tsai to Taiwan as the Provincial Work Committee’s general secretary, followed by the April 1946 dispatch of the first group of cadres, including Chiayi native Chang Chih-chung. May of that year saw the formal establishment of the Taiwan Provincial Work Committee, whose primary missions were the development of an underground organization in Taiwan, the directing of secret political propaganda directed at Taiwan, the collecting of military and political intelligence, the instigating of a counteroffensive among the military and political organizations, preparation for the establishment of an armed presence, and the development of work among the mountain people and mainlanders. In July 1946 Tsai Hsiao-chien came to Taiwan, and in February 1948 the PWC began underground publishing of its Kuangming News.
In May 1948 general secretary Tsai Hsiao-chien and 13 other top-level PWC cadres left Taiwan to take part in the “Hongkong Conference,” in which Hsieh Hsueh-hung of the Taiwan Democratic Self-government League, who was now in Hongkong exile, also participated. They explained the special character of Taiwan’s development and prospects, and decided on the direction that future work would take, concrete tasks, and the establishment of a political party. Once back in Taiwan, Tsai planned for a party membership of two thousand and a peripheral mass of fifty thousand people. He trained one hundred section and task force managers and cadre for the organizing of work committees in twenty cities and townships. Consolidating his organization, he developed mass work and furthered the unification project.
In August 1949 the Nationalist government announced that they had broken a case involving Keelung Middle School principal Chung Hao-tung and others, as well as thecase of the underground PWC publication, the Kuangming News. In quick succession PWC deputy general secretary Chen Tse-min, general secretary Tsai Hsiao-chien, Hung You-chiao (PWC member and propaganda department head, aka Liu Chih-ching, arrested in Keelung on 16 March 1950), and Chang Chih-chung were arrested. With these Taiwan communist leaders “turning over a new leaf,” organization members from all over were implicated, and over several years several thousand people were arrested. After their capture, reports of Tsai Hsiao-chien, Chen Tse-min, Hung You-chiao and other of the leadership renouncing communism appeared in the papers, but Chang Chih-chung held out, and he and his wife were executed.