Sun, Jul 22, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan in Time: Sedition or a groundless verdict?

Five Taiwanese elites were sentenced on July 29, 1947 for an alleged independence attempt after Japan’s surrender, but the truth remains murky

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter


The KMT arrested Koo and four other alleged independence petitioners in February 1946. On July 29, 1947, they were convicted of sedition. Koo received the longest sentence of over two years.

“Most people are overjoyed about the return of Taiwan to the motherland,” the verdict states. “But Koo Chen-fu and his accomplices leaned toward Japan, and were one of the few who lamented Japan’s loss.”

The verdict states that several Japanese officers who refused to accept surrender instigated the incident and recruited Taiwanese to join in their plan, which was only stopped after Ando made his warning.

“The so-called self-rule movement was started by the Japanese and would benefit the Japanese,” it continued. “This is essentially sedition under the guise of self-rule. We have sacrificed so much to fight the Japanese and liberate the people of Taiwan, yet these people are not only not grateful, but succumbed to Japanese influence.”

The reason for the relatively short sentences are revealed by the following: “Considering the fact that the Japanese are the instigators and the defendants have been brainwashed by the Japanese, their actions are somewhat forgivable.”

However, later interviews with former Japanese military officials in Taiwan show them insisting that they had nothing to do with the independence attempt.

Koo has long maintained his innocence, claiming that he actually tried to stop the attempt and the sentencing was punishment for the Koo family’s close ties to the colonial government. The son of Hsu Ping (徐丙), another defendant, also declared his father’s innocence. His version of events state that Hsu’s close associate Lin Hsiung-hsiang (林熊祥) angered then-governor general Chen Yi (陳儀) by demanding that he repay an overdue loan, and Chen arrested him and his friends as revenge.

Due to the lack of evidence, the truth is still unclear. However, Japanese records clearly state that Lin Maosei (林茂生) and other “Taiwanese elite” did make an attempt at independence right after Japanese surrender. Lin “disappeared” in the aftermath of the 228 Incident, leaving nothing behind that proves whether Koo and the other defendants were involved.

An interesting footnote to the story: While Koo Chen-fu became a KMT loyalist despite his alleged independence attempt, his half-brother Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) is a DPP member and lifelong Taiwan independence activist.

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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