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)
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.
Chen Chin’s diary ran from 17 January 1953 to 25 November 1954, providing a digest of important daily happenings. This is the only prison diary like it, for, what with the supervisory personnel doing unannounced sweeps of the prison cells and what with prisoners having been resentenced in sedition cases for having written something, nobody dared write one. (provided by Chen Chin, reproduced by Taiwan Art-in Design Company)
There were several dozen females among the political inmates moved to Green Island on 17 May 1951. They included the famous dancer Tsai Jui-yueh (No. 15) and the wife of Lan Ming-ku, Lan Chang Ah-tung (No. 32). Those in the Female Squadron were called by their numbers. About twenty women were sent to Green Island in January 1953, by which time the numbers had already run past 80. After that, with the prisoners introduced from Nanjih Island in China, the female population exceeded one hundred. The women mainly attended political instruction classes, while also carrying water from Liuma Ditch to the vegetable garden, the tending of which was the responsibility of the Sixth Squadron. In November 1954 the Female Squadron was transferred to the Panchiao Production Education and Experiment Center.