2010年8月29日 星期日

The Tung-kang Incident 東港事件

With materials provided by Mr R Huang

Most people in Taiwan know about the 228 Incident. It has become a political point of contention in recent years. The West also has learned about it from George H Kerr (1911-1987) through his book, Formosa Betrayed.

It must be noted, however, that the history of modern Taiwan does not begin solely with this incident of 1947. Sadly, because of the White Terror, the Taiwanese have chosen to remain silent and the history of 1941-45 has gradually faded from the collective memory. In fact, very few now know what had transpired in the Tung-kang Incident 東港事件.

The better-known 東港事件 or 特高事件 was one of the 4 major political persecutions of the Takao Taiwanese by the Japanese Colonial Gov't, collectively known as 高雄州不逞陰謀事件. This Incident was preceded by the 鳳山事件, followed by 旗山事件 and 旗後事件. In all, 4-500 of the Taiwan leadership elites were imprisoned, severely or fatally tortured, and some sentenced to death.

特高, short for 特别高等警察 Special high-command police, was the secret police unit created in the French/German mode in 1911. It was directly under the Ministry of the Interior. Its main mission was to protect the emperor from potential assassination by communists and anarchists. Taiwan, under the colonial rule, was a police state, much more so than mainland Japan and Korea, the latter was then also under the Japanese colonial rule. And the Special Police Unit went wildly out of control in Taiwan in an attempt to stamp out the Chinese nationalism of the Taiwanese who began to realize that Japan was losing the war and anticipated a reunification with China. The Japanese colonial gov't would not tolerate the increasing Taiwanese political activism and sought to suppress this tiny opposition group. Unfortunately, they had targeted innocent citizens. What followed were the four incidents all occurring in 高雄州Takao Prefecture:

(1) 鳳山事件 [Feng-shan Incident]: This incident took place in 1941 in 林園鄉. It started by a Japanese policeman 櫻井勇 and his informer (a certain 蘇) seeking revenge that eventually spread like a wild fire. 櫻井 was initially stationed in 林園鄉. Together with his informer, they terrorized the residents who complained to their superiors. 櫻井 was charged with corruption and transferred to Pintung and 蘇 went to jail for being his cohort. They soon hatched a plot to take revenge on the people of 林園鄉. The opportunity presented itself when first in June, 1941, at a lunch gathering, a 黃允南 argued heatedly with 黃和順 over the misdeeds of 櫻井. And on Aug 25 when 黃允南 told others that "we will soon see the light" referring to Japan's losing the war, it was promptly reported by 黃和順 to "保正"黃水香. The latter filed a false report claiming that 黃允南 was organizing a revolt. 櫻井 forwarded the report to 鳳山 County police which started a surveillance on 黃允南 and his associates. The county police then submitted a report to the special police and on Nov 8, 22 people were seized and imprisoned. Three more waves of arrests were to follow, the last one on April 24, 1942, netting more than 50 that included Dr 吳海水, Dr 莊媽江, 蘇泰山, and 李元平. 吳海水 was a physician, hardly an armed revolutionary. His only "crime" might have been helping 林獻堂 and 蔣渭水 in founding the 台灣文化協會Taiwan Cultural Association, a literary club known to espouse anti-Japan views. He was sentenced to 15 years of prison. Many others were tortured to death refusing to admit the gratuitous guilt or implicate innocent others. The charges were all trumped up, there was simply no evidence of any organized revolt to support the landing of Chinese troops [who were nowhere to be found in any case].

(2) 東港事件: Unfortunately, the 鳳山事件 was to spill into the nearby 東港. The instigator was Takao-shu Special Police chief 仲井清一 (who was to meet an untimely death in 1945 when Japan surrendered). In Aug, 1942, based on the statement extracted from 黃本 and 張明色 after severe beatings, a famous lawyer Mr 歐清石 was incarcerated. The police action extended into 東港 with the detention of 陳江山, 陳月陣, 郭生章, 許明和, 趙榮讓, 洪雅, 張恨 - all from 東港街; 周慶豐 and 張朝輝 from 溪洲庄; 何寅 and 陳言 from 新園庄; and 王永漳 from 茄苳庄. And because of the ready access to news from outside of Taiwan and the potential of collaborating with the Americans, the fishermen were also investigated and jailed. The most well-known was 伍主賀.

From Aug, 1942 to July, 1943, more than 200 were detained and in all, 4-500 were implicated - all based on essentially an imaginary crime against the state. Again, many were tortured to death. The special police was especially creative in the methodology of torture which could only be found in Hell as many survivors later recalled.

At this point, because of the cases threatened to involve all prominent Taiwanese whose cooperation was still needed, Governor General 長谷川清 [from 1940-44, succeeded by 安藤利吉] requested that the inquisitions be limited in scope and also sought for an early conclusion of these cases.

In a cruel twist of fate, Mr 歐清石 and Mr 洪雅 [for more, see here] were both killed when the American bombers bombed their prison in Taipei in 1945.

In addition, Dr 郭生[成]章's beloved son Dr 郭鴻文 [left - from R Huang] who returned from postgraduate studies in Japan to care for his father's patients, was intentionally drafted to serve as a military doctor in the IJN. Dr 郭鴻文and 40 other Taiwanese physicians perished in Cape St Jacques near Saigon on Jan 12, 1945 [for more, see here].

(3) 旗山事件 [Chi-shan Incident]: To imitate the successful prosecution in 東港, Special Police 寺奧徳三郎 of 旗山 played up a minor offense. In which some 4th graders of 溪州庄國民學校 wrote essays and innocently parroted the family views of the impending demise of the Japanese Empire. The teacher and the school principal apparently panicked and promptly alerted the Special Police who proceeded to investigate and found that a popular physician Dr 柯水發 often discussed contemporary affairs with his patients. On Nov 8, 1941, Dr 柯水發 together with 陳金秋, 郭萬成, 黃石松, et al, were imprisoned for allegedly plotting to aid the [imaginary] invading Chinese forces. In April, 1944, Dr 柯 was sentence to life imprisonment and his friends 陳秋明 to 15 years; 黃石松 10 years; and 劉萬成 7 years. Mr 黃石松 was to die in prison from torture.

(4) 旗後事件 [Chi-hou Incident]: In 1940, 王天賞 was elected the city senator of Takao who ran against several Japanese candidates. As a matter of personal principle, he refused an invitation to participate in the 皇民奉公會Council of Loyal Imperial Subjects, an organization for converting the Taiwanese to Imperial Japanese. This refusal caused him to be charged as a spy [for China] in 1944. And 20 some others were also implicated that included 潘致祥, 潘吉祥, 李水, and 陳福全. In prison, they could hear the American bombers flying overhead and the explosions from the dropped bombs. Unfortunately, Mr 李水 died in prison before the surrender of Japan.

Most these detainees were freed after the end of the war. Lessons from these incidents, however, were totally ignored and history repeated itself only 2 years later. In many ways, the 228 Incident paralleled the Tung-kang Incident. They were both fostered by circumstances, aided by collaborators-informers, and abetted by the authorities - the same deadly drama only under different titles, played by entirely different casts. It is also fair to say that the pent-up anger between 1941-45 finally erupted in 1947 when again, it was the quasi police that triggered the events.

In retrospect, the White Terror in fact started in 1941 if not earlier. Its grip was loosened somewhat in 1945, tightened again in 1947, and officially sanctioned in 1949. The Taiwanese became 噤若寒蟬 - as silent as a cicada in the wintertime - until 1987. And for 20+ years, the battle cry for the democratic movement has been a "respect human rights" and the 228 has become, since 1995, the only known incident of Taiwan's suppressed past.

For the falsely accused of the Takao/Kaohsiung Incidents of 1941-45 who paid such high personal and family prices for retaining the Chinese identity, however insignificant that was, it has all come unjustly to a naught. It has been deliberately neglected because there is nothing to gain for Taiwan politicians as the perpetrators had long ago returned to Japan. On humanity grounds alone, however, it is time now for the victims to be remembered, by ALL Taiwanese.

4 則留言:

  1. Thanks for bringing this up. I'd like to know more; and what are your sources?

    I also have a comment or two, plus a question.

    1. What became of the informant (a certain 蘇)?
    2. Many historians think that Taiwan was in lock-step with the Japanese and that efforts now to say otherwise are revisionist or, if not else, apologist. Taiwan should own up to the fact that it cooperated with Japan in WWII. There's nothing to feel ashamed about. Taiwan was abandoned first by China and then the rest of the world.
    3. My take on 228 was that it was more of a power grab than an effort to wipe out communist sympathizers and other traitors. When the KMT colonizers showed up here, they found an educated bureaucracy and ruling class already in place. The newcomers orchestrated 228 in order to kill off these people and grab their positions. Or do you think I'm being too cynical?

    Nice post, eyedoc. I hope you'll do more to bring this into the light.

  2. There are many sources, available on the net. They are all in Chinese - maybe the reason why the stories have not been picked up. It would not be possible to understand the 228 without knowing what had happened in 1941-5.

    Your comments (2) and (3) are exactly why I feel the need to set the record straight. More posts will follow of course. For now, let me just point out that Taiwan was under absolute colonial rule. The Taiwanese had no say in any political or military policies. And there was no Taiwan gov't, along the same vein as the Manchukuo or the Vichy Gov't, for the Japanese to collaborate with. The "gov't" in the brief period between Aug and Oct, 1945, was an ad hoc committee holding Taiwan together until the Chinese arrived. More accurately, it was the law-abiding citizens of Taiwan who did not allow the post-war society to disintegrate. There was no power to be grabbed, not in 1945, not in 1947, either. It was simply a regime change.

  3. "There was no power to be grabbed, not in 1945, not in 1947, either. It was simply a regime change." Hmm. Then why did so many professors and bureaucrats get killed in 228?

    I agree that the Taiwanese had little say in military policies. But 200,000 soldiers and logistics staff equals a tiny bit of say at least. They pointed guns and fired them, and held out on islands around Asia. They also saved lives as doctors and nurses. Don't downplay their contribution here completely. And Taiwan did send two reps to the duma during the '40s. Of course this was window dressing. They would have been rubber stampers. Symbolically, this does not equal "no say."

    I'm looking forward to how you develop the argument, with an open mind.

  4. Add physicians to the mix, then that is about right. Mass murder of the intelligentsia dates back to 秦Qin Dynasty. Once the cream of the crop is eliminated, the rest is easy to control. That was the reason why. It was more a preventive measure, not a power grab at all. The lesson apparently has been learned in the case of the 1997 Hongkong handover. Certainly a more reasonable approach.

    I don't think you are looking at the Taiwanese's participation (or "contribution" as you have put it) in the Pacific War correctly. These Taiwanese were born and bred under the colonial rule, not the older generation who still retained Chinese identity. Voluntary enlisting was simply a bonus for the successful Japanese patriotic indoctrinating education. There were also those reluctant to serve but did not have any choice under the law; many memoirs have attested to the personal struggle.

    In any colonized society, a few will always opt to work for the rulers, cf that in India in the last two centuries. This is nothing new but it cannot be used to indict the whole population. You did get it right, the Diet (Duma is Russian) seats were window dressing, much like the representative of the Crown in the Canadian Parliament. Nice cushy job but no say.