Political prisoner rescue efforts, both within and outside of Taiwan, spanned decades since their inception in the 1960s, with numerous individuals and groups participating, including overseas Taiwanese, church groups, foreign friends, Amnesty International, the media and academia.
A hand-written list of 214 political prisoners in Taiwan, which was brought overseas and published in Taiwan Chenglian. Among those listed were Kuo I-tung (Bo Yang), Huang Hua, Chan Yi-jen, Philip Lin and Hsu Hsi-tu. (provided by Dr. Chen Wen-cheng Memorial Foundation)
In 1994, the writer Po Yang came back to Oasis Villa. (photo by Liu Chen-hsiang)
A native of Henan Province in China, Po Yang’s name was made with his novel Alien City. For a long time he also authored a newspaper column in which he probed corruption, while at the same time providing the Chinese translation for the serialized comic strip, “Popeye the Sailor Man.” Pictured is the comic strip that appeared in early January 1968, whose dialogue the authorities regarded as an indirect attack on Chiang Kai-shek and his son. For “insulting the leader” and for having participated in the Democratic League thirty years before on the mainland, he was sentenced to 12 years. Having completed his sentence at Oasis Villa, he was then held further for thought reform at New Life Correction Centre to the east of Oasis Villa to continue his incarceration at the Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison.
A court sentencing document hand copied in prison by a political inmate. This was in the 1950s, when many political prisoners did not receive their official court document. While in the New Life Correction Center, prisoners called on for delivery service would etch the text into a metal plate, and then the prisoner involved in the case would hide the printed result. Caught up in the 1964 National Youth Solidatity Promotion Association Case, Lin Shui-chuan, having failed to receive his sentencing document, copied it down in densely packed characters. (provided by Lin Shui-chuan, digital reproduction by Taiwan Art-in Design Company)
Tsao Yi-chi and his cousin, the poet Tsao Kai, both were apprehended in the same case. Having served out his full sentence at the sixth platoon, Second Squadron at the Green Island New Life Correction Center, Tsao was not given a passing grade in his final evaluation, whereupon he was transferred to the labor center on Siao Liuciou Island. There he spent about a year and a half. Upon returning home, his spirits were sometimes high, sometimes low, so he was sent to a private mental hospital for long-term treatment. His family exhausted their resources on this. Ten-odd years after returning home, he passed away in his prime.
Chang Pi-kun’s student photo. (provided by Chang Ying-chueh, digital reproduction by Taiwan Art-in Design Company) Continue reading
Born in 1905 in Hsinhua, Tainan, and deeply influenced by the Chiaopanien Uprising of 1915, Yang Kui’s early years showed the ethnic consciousness of anti-Japanese resistance. Later he read old Russian and 19th-century English and French literary works of realism, which opened him up to the world. In the prime of life he was a novelist, but he also undertook all kinds of labor to put into practice his concern for “humanistic socialism.”
In 1964, the young man Tseng Kuo-ying, sentenced to ten years in the Navy Taiwan Independence Case, was a trumpet player in the New Life Correction Center’s entertainment team, regularly appearing on stage with the Green Island women. He fell in love with a local woman called “the Green Island Lily,” a Miss Su, and they decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Unfortunately it was discovered by a political warfare officer, who was also romantically pursuing Miss Su, and he had Tseng Kuo-ying locked up in a watchtower until he won Miss Su’s promise to marry him. In order to save Tseng, Miss Su had no choice but to comply. Not long after the marriage, however, she went to Taitung for medical treatment, and, while staying at a hotel in Chihpen, drank a large quantity of pesticide, and she was beyond rescue. Green Island had not only political prisoners willing to hold out for their ideals, but also lovers who were determined in their love.