Ministry of National Defense Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison (Oasis Villa) 1972-1987

After the Taiyuan Prison Revolt of 8 February 1970 (3rd day of the lunar new year), the authorities hurredly built on the western side of the old Green Island New Life Correction Center a high-walled prison, the Ministry of National Defense Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison. In a spring 1972 tri-military joint exercise, the authorities moved the political prisoners being held at Taiyuan Prison and other military facilities to Green Island, for concentrated lockup. With the end of martial law on 15 July 1987, civilians no longer came under the control of the military, and the remaining 20-odd political prisoners held here were transferred to the Taiwan Green Island Prison, in Chungliao.

   What went by the name of Oasis Villa was in fact a prison; the officials of the time often gave their prisons the label “villas”. But in the official files, the name was Ministry of National Defense Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison. Oasis Villa was a typical high-walled isolation facility, with the main prison Bakua Building configured like a plus-shaped target for enhanced centralized control, with four blocks on each of two floors, each block having 52 cells of various sizes. The majority of the political inmates were held on the first floor, while the second floor was reserved for special prisoners. The prisoners were let outdoors for exercise in four sections, for between 20 to 30 minutes, in both the morning and afternoon. Within the prison were also a special observation and medical room, solitary confinement cells, a kitchen, a storage room, and an off-limits room. On the east side of the administration building a room was provided for visits by relatives.

   At Oasis Villa were concentrated young, middle-aged and old political prisoners who had been there since the 1950s, the longest of whom served 34 years when finally released. Changes in the larger environment and contemporary situation meant that after 1980 Oasis Villa enjoyed a higher degree of communication with the outside. There were several instances of collective hunger strikes on the part of the inmates, in response to the actions calling for democracy and human rights outside. Also, Amnesty International dispatched a delegation to Oasis Villa in January 1980 for interviews, and, according to witness testimony by people serving life sentences, occasionally they could receive aid, letters of inquiry and gifts sent by AI.

 

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