Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - Page 6 News List

A lesson in what White Terror was

By Shih Ming-hsiung 施明雄

After Martial Law had been promulgated and imposed throughout the nation at the end of 1949, Taiwan formally entered the White Terror era.

People who held the slightest grudge against someone could simply file a report with the police and the relevant special agency, saying that this person had complained about the government, read novels written by left-wing writers, participated in meetings with a reading group; or that they had either been held captive by the Chinese Communist Party’s Eighth Route Army or stayed in an area occupied by the communists on the mainland yet had never turned themselves over to the authorities in Taiwan.

The person would become a target, hunted down and caught up in the iron net cast during the White Terror era.

Although martial law was lifted more than 38 years later and Taiwanese have experienced several transitions of political power since then, and democracy, freedom and human rights are cherished and valued, history textbooks in schools still never clearly explain the facts of the White Terror era, which are horrendously brutal and cruel.

As a result, figures like New Party spokesman and youth wing executive Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) pop up in the political scene, showing very little understanding of the true horrors of the White Terror era and even glamorizing this horrible past.

Having personally experienced political persecution and survived the White Terror era, I believe I am fully justified in giving a personal account of what the White Terror era was really like to the “Wang Ping-chungs” of the world.

First, I would like to ask New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), Wang and those of his ilk: Is the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the other side of the Taiwan Strait an enemy of Taiwan?

Not long ago, Li Kexin (李克新), a minister at the Chinese embassy in the US, in a speech at the embassy openly threatened both Americans and Taiwanese when he said: “The day that a US Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force.”

As a high-ranking diplomatic official, Li should have been a messenger of peace. Making offensive and threatening remarks with a swaggering attitude and defiant tone such as this, one can only wonder if Li still bears the UN Charter in mind and if he really cares about democracy, freedom and universal human rights.

“You just can’t repeat the White Terror by using the National Security Act (國家安全法) against these kids,” Yok said when Wang and his New Party colleagues were detained for questioning after the search of their homes. “What do you think they are able to subvert at such a young age? It seems to me that they were only collecting information.”

Soon after Yok’s comments, the whole pan-blue camp — having never experienced real White Terror — shouted in anger: “The DPP government is implementing White Terror! It’s Green Terror! They are Nazis!”

These people would never care to do a little bit of research and read through the documentation on White Terror victims, and they do not have the slightest idea about what kind of suffering the White Terror brought to people in the past.

Ignorant as they are, they think the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB) is bringing back the White Terror era by conducting searches at people’s residences backed up by summonses and warrants.

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