2015年4月8日 星期三

Freedom 1946

By April, 1946, 6 months after the Chinese takeover, news from Taiwan was not all good. An American journalist Harlow M Church had filed at least two reports, this "Out of the frying pan" piece was released on April 16 (source: here), in which Chinese looting and graft were cited:
Portable possessions of the repatriating Japanese were shipped to
Takao Harbor (photo dated April 5, 1946) under the terms of hiki-age
As citizens of a defeated nation, their real estates and 
unsold properties were confiscated, and valuables handed over
at checkpoints before boarding the ships back to Japan.
(Note: The other port of departure was Keelung.)
(Click to enlarge)
The second photo, Boy Miners, was taken on April 8, 1946 (source: here, also seen on other sites, for example, The View from Taiwan). This picture has raised many eyebrows questioning if child labor was allowed under the Japanese Colonial or the new Chinese rule:
Skipping the mandatory elementary education has always been a violation of the time-honored citizenship law since the early Japanese era. It was absolutely untrue that children in Taiwan were not required to go to school, they were; in fact, only personal sickness and family hardship were valid excuses. By April, 1946, with the Japanese school teachers gone and the curriculum abruptly changed to all-Chinese with very few qualified Chinese-speaking teachers in sight, many children in rural farming/mining areas were forced to defer schooling, only to resume years later. Some might have joined the labor force during this desperate time.
(Click to enlarge)
And the second report "Freedom is bitter tea for Formosa" was released on April 18, 1946. Increasing crime waves and prevalence of black markets were beginning to overwhelm and alarm the Taiwanese, observed Church, and that "They [now] regard Bondage as a lesser evil than "Liberation".

16 則留言:

  1. Freedom from the Japanese Rule - yes. Freedom and orderly society - no. From my reading of history, order and prosperity are necessarily absent immediately after a postwar regime change. Why, we have the US occupation of Baghdad under the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-led war to thank for invaluable data, up-close and televised, from 2003 up to now 2015. How long does it take for a new regime to stabilize so its people can live in an orderly and prosperous society? Oh yes. Now I have some perspective to go on.

    I am so excited reading Harlow M Church's pieces "out of the frying pan" and "the tragedy of Taiwan" over at Turton's blog. So much of Mr. Church's reports paint a picture of Taiwan in 1946 that is eerily similar to Iraq in 2003. History repeats, does it not? I am feeling more certain about my take on 228 but I need to organize my thoughts to talk coherently. Here are some points I agree with you.

    1. Chen Yi quickly got rid of Taiwanese elites from the government. The Japanese officials surely lost their positions too. This led to rapid loss of law and order.
    2. Rampant graft and corruptions and looting.
    3. the 70th division participated in looting.
    I guess the 70th division had about thousands of soldiers based on this wiki article under the paragraph "Structure"
    Together with the other division there was less than 15,000 KMT troops in Taiwan 1946. Perhaps much less than the number of Japanese soldiers and police that kept order for the Taihoku government. Problems are exacerbated by the Slimy Eels gangsters Mr. Church mentioned.

    Under such conditions I can imagine a scenario of what went on in 1946. But first, how do you weigh the view and documents presented by Mr. 李敖.


  2. Mr Li's TV show was quite entertaining. That's about it. You actually don't need to imagine, the scenario has been clearly presented in George Kerr's book: http://homepage.usask.ca/~llr130/taiwanlibrary/kerr/kerr.pdf

    "Slimy eels" is a translation of 鱸鰻 (Taiwanese, pronounced luo-moa) which became 流氓, a convenient charge during the White Terror that had landed many in Green Island. Another prosecutable term comes to mind, that is "漢奸". Not just an innocuous insult as today, it was liberally used by the ChenYi administration to get at the 仕紳 class.

  3. I thought Church was talking about atmosphere of fear in Taiwan caused by the luo-moa gangsters that were punished but not eradicated before 1945. Chen Yi couldn't contain the crimes caused by these gangsters who came out of prisons or underground with the number of security forces at his disposal. 70th army being few thousands in number and they don't know Japanese or even Min-nan. I don't know when the White Terror (anti-communist purge) started in Taiwan. But it must be after 2-28-1947.

    Does being entertaining automatically exclude Mr Li from communicating some truth? Let's start with Chen Yi. George Kerr quoted General Wedemeyer:

    "The Administration of the former Governor Chen Yi has alienated the people from the Central Government. Many were forced to feel that conditions under autocratic rule [Japan's rule] were preferable."

    One assessment by Kerr on the Japanese Rule:

    'The Rules of Ground Warfare (written long before the age of nuclear weapons) strictly forbade willful destruction of religious buildings. In this instance, however, I reasoned that the Shinto
    Grand Shrine in its elaborate gardens near Taipei was not a religious building but a political symbol of imperial Japanese rule. It was a State Shrine which had been constructed at grievous cost to the Formosan people, a "conqueror's shrine" which had no religious significance whatsoever beyond State ceremonial on Japanese festival occasions. In 1939 it had been greatly enlarged. Expansion of the grounds and gardens had required the destruction of one of Formosa's oldest and most revered temples, to the great sorrow and anger of the Formosans. I believed that destruction of the Grand Shrine would be a severe blow to Japanese military morale and would immensely please the Formosan people.'

    All adults know what conquerors are. But how do you describe them? The ones on the receiving end call them arrogant ruthless bloodsuckers. The ones on the giving end call themselves liberators. Lacking emotional intelligence, I thought they are the ones who do what they do to make a regime change. Revolutionaries are homegrown. Conquerors are foreign born.

  4. (1) The most notorious gangsters were actually the 藍衣社 who arrived in Taiwan in early 1946 and proceeded to network with the 70th (the ones from Hokkien spoke Taiwanese) and local criminals. So it quickly became out of control, not only petty thefts but also major crimes. ChenYi governed by issuing toothless directives, some of which you see on Li Au's show.
    (2) Mr Li's "truths" were too few and too far between. Name one that has convinced you most, then we'll go from there.
    (3) Not just one, all shinto shrines (ca 200 in all) were destroyed or modified after 1945. The Grand Shrine 台灣神社 near Taipei was already burned down in 1944 when an airplane crashed while trying to land in Songshan Airport. The original temple 劍潭古寺 was not destroyed only relocated in ca 1942 to 大直, still there today. On the same site 圓山大飯店 was built (1952), which I am sure you are familiar with - one symbol replacing another. To the Taiwanese, it was "走了狼,來了虎", all ruthless conquerors.

  5. As the Who sang, "...meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

    I like Li Au putting up documents right next to him, supporting his statements. I can recognize CKS's calligraphy in some documents so I guess they are authentic copies of the original.
    My first belief is that Chen Yi was an uncorrupted Taiwan governor doing his best for Taiwan, because
    1. He helped started Bank of Taiwan, having its own currency to reduce the impact of hyper-inflation in China.
    2. His self-portrait poetry stating that he would go hungry after retirement, because he did not take economic advantages while in office.
    3. the 70th and 62th divisions were dispatched back to China before 228, leaving 500 or so to keep order in Taipei. Had Chen Yi been a corrupt official, he certainly would be mad to cut out his powers and expect to be safe. Li Au's words were that Chen Yi did so much for Taiwan that he did not think Taiwanese would wrong him.

    Lots of KMT officials were corrupt for sure. The hyperinflation in China was a direct consequence. But what can Chen Yi do when his subordinates take money under the table in Taiwan? The anti-corruption campaign going on in China now shows just how much support Xi Jing-ping must have before he could start it. Chen Yi did what he could for Taiwan. CKS promoted him to the Chairmanship of Zhejiang province after 228, citing the incident unfortunate in his hard work and high achievements.

  6. Ultimately, failure of a company is blamed on the CEO whether he is a nice guy or not. That said, personal virtue of ChenYi was also the reason why he had failed as the governor. His self-righteousness had led to pathological self-confidence (剛愎自用) when crafting his policies. Some might be successful in the short run, most not.

    Li has a habit of presenting only half-truths:

    (1) Bank of Taiwan was established in 1903. It is true that Chen helped the printing of 舊台幣, however, there was already hyperinflation (10-fold) when he took over, made worse by the relentless looting (his brother was the major culprit). He should have implemented an exchange rate of 10 Japanese yen to 1 old NT dollar in the first place. When the hyper-inflation hit Taiwan in 1949, the exchange rate was 40,000 old NT$ to 1 new NT$. And Taiwanese wealth evaporated overnight. (2) The main hall of 施琅's residence in Hokkien has a plaque that says "天下第一清官“, a joke of the past 3 centuries, so what else is new. (3) True, the military was gone, however, by then 軍統局 and 警備總部 had already established operation backed by the much feared 憲兵第四團 (did Li mention 500? He should know better).

    I do agree, it was out of ChenYi's depth as far as governing Taiwan. However, he was still the failed CEO, ultimately sentenced to death by CKS for trying to defect to the CCP.

  7. It's one way to blame the failure of a company on the CEO. It's another way to ask what is a company of 10 factories doing with one new CEO and only 5 managers. Why let go of the old competent staff and managers? Let me get to that later. But basically why regime change if one keeps the old staff?

    George Kerr's prior assessment:
    'China was an enormous problem. Nothing in the Nationalist record. as Of 1942 would support a belief that Chiang Kai-shek's Party bosses could assume control of the government of Formosa without massive aid, or that American interests there could rest secure in Chinese hands. This was well known in the Department of State, but even so early as 1943 the policy lines were set; Formosa would be returned to China, with no reservations of American or Allied interest whatsoever. Although ENLIGHTENED SELF-INTEREST REQUIRED SOME GUARANTEE THAT ALL OF FORMOSA'S HUMAN AND MATERIAL ASSETS SHOULD BE CONSERVED FOR ALLIED USE PENDING A GENERAL AND SATISFACTORY SETTLEMENT IN ASIA, suggestions to this effect evoked cries of "imperialism!" "What would our Chinese friends think?"'

    My understanding so far is that Kerr suggested America occupy Taiwan after the War since no one from China can do the job right. It is up to the Americans to help Formosa set up a government so Formosan can achieve "HOME RULE". Only the US could do that. No? But Kerr was obviously upset by the veto of his suggestion.

    Years later Secretary of State Colin Powell advised George Bush that to occupy Baghdad they need overwhelming forces to keep order. This was rebuffed by Cheney and Rumsfeld. "No need!" and they got their ways. A very large portion of the Iraq War budget went into postwar reconstruction to help Iraq become the first democratic nation in the Middle East. The result? Fiasco. In the words of Rumsfeld sometime after the US occupation, "...But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." How poetically true that is. As far as I can make out from history, successful regime change and STABILITY afterwards is done with continuous overwhelming forces. No one has figured out yet how to do it otherwise.

    I have strayed away from seeking the whole truth, having learned about the mystery of wave-particle duality in physics, and seeing that the meaning of the word 'whole' is a moving target. The poetic half-truths of Li Au's are not swallowed wholesale by me. I also take it for entertainment. He did mention 500 or so soldiers. And his opening line of 228 was that it was a tragedy that would not have happened if there were sufficient ground force present. That convinces me that his view has merits.

    Here is a recent rage on the Net about...
    What color is this dress?

  8. Kerr's book is valued for the first-hand knowledge. You certainly have a different angle. The perennial debate of American Imperialism vs Democracy for All will never end. So we'll just leave it at that.

    Regime change comes in two flavors, 改朝換代 and 政權轉移. The Taiwan case was a mix of the two plus an element of conquest. Stability for whom and how to achieve it therefore became no simple matter. Li's claim of "sufficient ground force present" etc is like posting more security guards outside the failing CEO's office. It was the White Terror starting in 1949 that had finally stablized the country. Of course the voices of reason were also silenced/imprisoned, including a then younger and different version of Li himself.

  9. I didn't sketch out my thoughts properly. Lack of writing and communication skills. It does seem I mentioned Iraq and Kerr's quote to illustrate American Imperialism. That wasn't my intention. What I wanted to express was that Kerr's idea about Taiwan Home Rule had a flaw. And that flaw is manifested in the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq. I capitalize those words by Kerr because I was thinking about all those who read "Formosa Betrayed" and denounced CKS and Chen Yi. Did they not consider Kerr's premise had an element of "enlightened" self-interest?

    I haven't got to the part about Kerr's account of 228. My presumption is that it will be a sketch of an event that's similar to countless other major social violence events where protest turning into riot turning into security forces suppression, to be continued by underground movements and then ... etc. Such course of events happened in all countries and across histories. But I will know what to think when I get to that part of the book. So far my perception of Kerr's thesis of 'Formosa Betrayed' is that Formosa didn't get the kind of self-government promised in the leaflets dropped down on the ground during the Allie bombings of Taiwan. It must have been frustrating to Kerr that an opportunity for an independent Formosa state was bungled, and all the painstaking analytical work done before by the Formosa specialists and China specialists were toss to the wind. So who's to blame? Why, look at the bloody and incompetent hands of KMT. There it is.

    One of my favorite quotes in the movie "Judgement at Nuremberg" is from Ernst Janning. "It was the old old story of the sacreficial lamb." In this case, KMT was the blamed party for Kerr's "Formosa Betrayed".

    The flaw in Kerr's idea of Formosa Home Rule is a lack of consideration of evolutionary forces. But then Kerr is not at fault since analysis of political evolution was not conceived in the world yet. Diversification and cataclysmic changes are traits of evolution. These traits are not subject to human management if the forces behind them are not understood. What I mean to say is that had the takeover of Taiwan in 1945 gone the way Kerr suggested, that would be to build a Home Rule government nursed first by an American administration under preferred conditions, the corruptions, graft, misery, and riot plus suppression would still have taken place. Why? Let me collect my thoughts to present them in the next installment.

    By the way, I like the idea of American occupation of Taiwan at that time. Japan did well by American occupation. Beautiful biracial children would be welcome and envied, I imagine. Save a lot of cosmetic surgery money at least. Also I googled 政權轉移 and started reading this thesis by a DPP guy 姚人多 whose father was also from Zhejiang.

  10. Thank you for sharing your reading notes. So you like the idea of American occupation as proposed by Kerr and yet dislike his putting blame on CY (and CKS). Actually, as far as I know, "beautiful biracial children" were not well-accepted in the post-war Japan, why would that be different in Taiwan, pray tell. So far, you have only cited Li Au in exonerating ChenYi. Theorizing what-ifs is fun, but history is based on what had happened. So what is your own take on who's responsible for the 228 Incident?

    The thesis by 姚人多 is missing one component, BTW, that is if ChenYi, a man who had done so much research on Taiwan, recognized the exploitative value of the 保甲 system. Perhaps he was blinded by his zeal in removing everything Japanese and chose to rely on the secret police from China. Read more and let us know your analysis.

  11. A real pleasure talking with you, dear EyeDoc. I haven't feel so energized in years. Trouble is, my mind has been spinning so much it's dazed now. My crack on the beautiful biracial children was in bad taste. I apologize. Maybe in 1945 Japanese took Americans for foes while Taiwanese took them for friends. That might make a difference. But still, conservative attitude towards unwed mothers was unfavorable in 1945. So biracial children under American Occupation would not have been happy campers after all.

    Assigning responsibilities for the 228 is a task I am ill suited for. To my eyes ChenYi was a tragic figure in the tragedy of 228. I don't know about CKS since I don't know what his order was to the 21st division.* I just hate the current DPP's propaganda and Western expats' misunderstanding of, yet propagating the lies about the 228, so I advocate for KMT. KMT at that time wantonly suppressed the 228 riot. But it wasn't true that 228 was only KMT killing Taiwanese innocents and elites. Taiwanese killed equally plenty of Chinese too.

    Of course you are right that my thoughts are all theories. I know I am ignorant of many facts and have many misunderstandings on this historical event. Nevertheless, my view on the 228 right now is that hundreds of innocent mainland Chinese died first in the hands of Taiwanese rioters from 2-28 to 3-10, 1947, a 10-day one-sided beating and killing spree. (Li Au cited that ChenYi reported 800 Chinese deaths to CKS) Afterwards about 800 Taiwanese died or missing (plus thousands jailed) when KMT's 21st division arrived. Many, if not most or all, of those 800 +/- dead Taiwanese were innocent of the killing during the riot. (How does one positively identify the actual killers in a 10-day island-wide mass riot? By eyewitness accounts. Who came forward to bear witness? The angry Taiwanese or the terrorized Chinese? No, not them. Li Au argued that it was some vile Taiwanese who wanted to revenge against their enemies. Those came forward and gave their enemies' names to the KMT.) Li Au's method of counting the Taiwanese 228 victims was also convincing to me. He compared the household census (戶口) data before and after 1947 to get a figure on unnatural deaths. Correlate that with the number of victim claimants of the 228 compensation funds. They match closely and it was about 800 - 857 deaths + missings together.

    ChenYi was responsible for the dismissal of Taiwanese officials in the Central Government and the 保甲 system the Japanese adopted from the Qing rule. From that followed the breakdown of law and order, with the accompanying graft, curruptions, gangster crimes, and hyperinflation in 1946. I still believe CY was a tragic figure for all this, like Ernst Janning (played by Burt Lancaster) was in the movie Judgement in Nuremberg. Because I believe no one else, Chinese or Taiwanese or American, statesman or businessman or general or saint, in Chen Yi's position could do any better. How can I be sure of this? The case of American Occupation of Baghdad provides an example. In 2003 US Presidential Envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer banned the Ba'ath party from the government and the police department, and he dismantled the Iraqi army. There were tens of billions of US dollars annually for reconstruction, and the US ground troops, and the US democratic government know-hows. The result? Disruptions of law and order, breakdown of basic utility services, rampant crime and violence, graft and corruption, government in disarray. Had they lived to see it, General Wedemeyer and George Kerr might have been surprised to find that the Iraqis, after a few months of Paul Bremer & Co., started to voice a wish to return to Sadam's regime instead of the freedom under Americans. If this example is unconvincing, then let's see what would have happened (theoretically again of course) had Taiwan kept the 保甲 system and the Taiwanese elites in the government.

    1. What would have happened? What would have happened when there is a conflict between the Chinese interest and the Taiwanese interest? Conflicts in education policy and implementation, in economic distribution, in criminal prosecution, and in whatever that may come up. The conflicts would have accumulated and then escalated into disruption of law and order, along with crimes and corruptions, etc. Why escalations are so inevitable? Because the new governor is not respected and there is no overwhelming forces to suppress the escalations. How did the Japanese fare in their first 2 years, adopting the 保甲 system and keep things generally intact in Taiwan? How long did the Japanese take to finally stabilize their governing of Taiwan? I say Chen Yi never had the luxury of overwhelming occupation forces behind him to iron out rough patches. For that he was a tragic figure. He had no choice other than to disband the 保甲 and the Taiwanese government representatives in consideration of all possible conflict of interests.

      *KMT troops under CKS were not homogeneously absolutely loyal to him or capable of carrying out his orders properly. KMT soldiers had been fighting wars since before 1911 against the Qing, the warlords, the communists, the Japanese. By 1945 they were a wild mix of elite soldiers and willy-nilly conscripts, fatigued and poorly provided for because China had been bled to the bones under the Japanese invasion and occupation. So sad only Lee Teng-hui 李登輝 at the time had the imagination of the plights of those KMT troops, the 70th and the 62nd divisions that came for the takeover of Taiwan. In the eyes of common Taiwanese the 70th and 62nd were shameful or even despicable. They labeled them the Chinese beggar/gangster troops on the first sight of them. This I read from the book Big River Big Sea, 1949. So, with such unfavorable impressions of the Taiwanese towards the KMT troops (justified of course), is it any wonder that the KMT troops, who had long experiences of suffering inflicted by the IJA in China, would counter the superior Taiwanese attitudes with angry name-calling, i.e. Japanese servants or worse. Surely anyone can call KMT troops gangster sick bastards for what they did to the Taiwanese. But sick bastards may well be what those Western POWs calling the Taiwanese prison guards in the Pacific, also described in Big River Big Sea 1949. Once the blaming starts, it goes circularly on and on. Reminds me of the Toshiro Mifune scene in Seven Samurai where he learned about the peasants killing some roaming Samurais and kept their armor suits, and then yelling out that the killing happened only because the roaming Samurais had robbed and killed the peasants first.

  12. Very good Herman, a deep blue but not a KMT member. Not unusual, I know a lot of friends in the same camp: they arrived in Taiwan in 1949 as little kids, grew up there, and now reside in the US. The only homeland that they know is actually Taiwan and yet they were taught from childhood by parents and later by the educational system that China was the motherland. The motherland, however, was lost to the CCP in 1949 owing to previous chaos created by the Sino-Japanese war, therefore the Japanese were/are ultimately responsible. Now that KMT has lost the recent election big time, and DPP might just take control in 2016, these friends of mine may lose the only homeland that they know, so it becomes necessary to (1) denounce DPP's independence platform (which is unrealistic, BTW), (2) support KMT by explaining away what CY and CKS did between 1945-1987, and (3) either hope KMT continues its rule or forget the civil war with CCP and embrace PRC instead. The CCP plays up the anti-Japan sentiment which is shared by all Chinese, so Chinese who grew up in Taiwan also buy into it. And since the Taiwanese were ruled by the Japanese (ignoring Taiwan was abandoned by China first), so by implication, Taiwanese can be regarded as being traitorous, and name-calling follows. The problem is that this strategy will result in everyone ending up as 永遠的異鄉人: (1) China does not recognize dual-citizenship and (2) US is not the Old Country. Only Taiwan still recognizes 戶籍, and with which an ID card can be acquired, and residency a matter of course. The choice is quite clear. A reasonable approach is then to join the people of Taiwan as many expats have chosen to do, understanding Taiwan's past is the first step, working for its future then becomes natural. The days of stability under the White Terror are long gone.

  13. A couple of links here, if you are interested:

    (1) Mixed blood in post-war Japan: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2008/09/10/national/mixed-race-babies-in-lurch/#.VSpsvpO6QgQ

    (2) The never ending tally of 228 victims: http://taiwantt.org.tw/books/228/new_page_36.htm

  14. Now I know what deep blue means. I thought it just meant KMT. In terms of id cards, I'm not a Taiwanese. But I see myself a Taiwanese and a Chinese. Whether DPP is in power or not doesn't change that. Who are they to take that away from me. I see no conflict of being simultaneously Taiwanese and Chinese at all. Some people are both Californian and American. They can live in China or anywhere else for 10 years, become legal residents there, and still feel they are Californian and American. No problemo. I never thought of Chinese as being exclusively citizens of the CCP government. There are plenty of overseas Chinese all over the map. CCP, DPP, KMT come and go like everything else in this world. China will last longer than CCP. Although who knows by what name in the future.

    I am just glad for the chance to vent my spleen. I feel I'm OK now. That list of tally by various investigators on the 228 victim numbers is the exact same list that Li Au used in his talk show. The deductive reasoning by 李喬 is different from 李敖 on the census data. The data samples selected for analyses are taken from different years by these two Li's. But who am I to judge who is more correct. I just hope all the victims' children had come out to claim the government's compensation so there is a closure. And thanks for the link on mixed-blood children in postwar Japan. Gives me more understanding. I will go to Taiwan when the time is ripe. I miss my hometown and relatives there.

  15. A Jan 2015 public opinion survey by 政大選研中心 shows that 32.5% (down from 43.1% in 2008) self-identified as both Taiwanese and Chinese (vs 60.6% Taiwanese only, and 3.5% Chinese only). The term 中國人 used in the survey does not differentiate between 中國 and 中華民族. I maybe wrong but you might have been talking about the latter which would be inclusive of overseas Chinese. Of course we know that 中華民族 is not a homogeneous race. In any case, you are in good company. Do visit Taiwan soon. After a few days, you will feel that as if you have never left. Hometown is forever. No one can take that away from you indeed.