At a time when people overseas were not yet strongly involved in aid work, overseas Taiwanese were on the forefront of making the human rights in Taiwan public. They organized groups, published periodicals, arranged activities, held demonstrations and sit-ins, and canvassed congressmen, influencing human rights organizations, academia, political parties, and even governments. But the overseas Taiwanese who challenged the KMT government were subject to surveillance or even kidnapping by overseas operatives. The Liu Wen-ching case is an example of this.
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)
A New English Grammar was required reading for English study, and was a best-seller for decades.
Born in 1929 in Tsoying, Kaohsiung, and arrested on 31 July 1951, Ke Chi-hua was sent for “reform and re-education” to the Green Island New Life Correction Center’s Eighth Squadron. Released in April 1953, he was arrested a second time on 4 October 1961, and in August 1963 was sentenced to twelve years and locked up in Taiyuan Prison and Oasis Villa. Finishing his sentence, he should have been released in 1973, but was kept in prison for another three years. Only on 19 June 1976 did he win release. Waiting in vain for his release. Ke Chi-hua’s wife, Ke Tsai Ah-li, went to Green Island together with her mother-in-law to find out why her husband could not go back home. Outside Oasis Villa in the rain, the two women stood resolute, and after a life-and-death session of negotiations with the authorities, were allowed to stand a hundred meters outside his prison cell and wave greetings to Ke. Continue reading
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.