Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan in Time: Revolutionary in exile

Prior to his return in 1993, Su Beng had only spent three years of his adult life in Taiwan due to his revolutionary activities, which included resisting the Japanese, trying to assassinate Chiang Kai-shek and championing Taiwan independence

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

“I came to China to join the resistance. Why am I still interacting and dealing with the Japanese? Perhaps it’s because I looked Japanese, I could enter Japanese military institutions with ease. My job was not even dangerous.”

Born on Nov. 9, 1918, Su first left Taiwan in 1937 to study political economics in Tokyo. During this time, he voraciously read books on anarchism and socialism, and was especially drawn to Marxism, which was his main inspiration for heading to China to fight the Japanese.

“First of all, through Marxism I took notice of the CCP and started learning about China. I felt that China was a place where socialism could prevail,” he writes. “Secondly, China had became the main battlefield for resisting the Japanese Empire. I believed that in order to rid Taiwan of Japanese imperialism, the best way was to start from China.”

Su remained in the Japanese-held areas until the end of the war. He says that he initially had a good impression of Communist leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東).

“But that all changed when I entered the Communist-ruled areas,” he writes, as he moved to Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province in 1946. Over the year, he became disillusioned with the CCP, noting that they had no intent of liberating the oppressed and were instead creating a system of fear and terror. Later he completely gave up on them after seeing the brutality of the class struggle.

Su finally saw combat, engaging in guerilla warfare with the KMT. He also oversaw a division of Taiwanese troops who were initially sent to China during the Chinese Civil War by the KMT but captured by the CCP. The poor treatment of these soldiers made Su realize that “the Communists never saw Taiwanese as one of their own,” which only strengthened his identity and desire to leave China.

As China fell to the CCP in 1949, Su fled back home only to find that the KMT’s behavior was no better than that of the CCP.

“Turns out, both Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong believe in authoritarianism,” he writes.

For Su, there was only one final path to take.

Taiwan in Time, a column about Taiwan’s history that is published every Sunday, spotlights important or interesting events around the nation that have anniversaries this week.

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