Sun, Nov 10, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan in Time: The Taiwanese who hoped to ‘liberate’ Taiwan

The Taiwan Democratic Self Governing League was founded by Taiwanese communist revolutionaries in 1947, and remains a legal political party in China today

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

After fleeing to China, Hsieh Hsueh-hung and Yang Ke-huang founded the Taiwan Democratic Self Governing League in 1947 to oppose the KMT and the US.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Nov. 11 to Nov. 17

Eight months after her failed armed resistance against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Hsieh Hsueh-hung (謝雪紅) notified authorities that she wasn’t giving up.

The communist revolutionary had fled to China after her 27 Brigade disbanded in the aftermath of the 228 Incident, an anti-government uprising in 1947 that was brutally suppressed. From Hong Kong, she issued a statement on Nov. 1, 1947, blasting the KMT’s misrule of Taiwan, concluding with a call for Taiwanese to rally and join the united front with China to “oppose the KMT’s treasonous infighting and authoritarianism, and fight for an independent, peaceful and democratic new China!”

On Nov. 12, Hsieh, along with her long-time lover and comrade Yang Ke-huang (楊克煌) and former rival Su Hsin (蘇新) announced the formation of the Taiwan Democratic Self Governing League (台灣民主自治同盟, Taimeng). This party relocated to Beijing in 1949 and still exists today as one of the eight legally-recognized political parties in China.

According to a publication released by the party on its 70th anniversary, Taimeng “consists of people from Taiwan Province who reside in the motherland and are patriotic supporters of socialism. It is an active political party devoted to socialism with Chinese characteristics. In 70 years, Taimeng has never wavered in its support of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and has actively participated in the revolution, development and reform of China.”

Since 1987, the party’s official mission has been to oppose Taiwanese independence and facilitate unification. But back when it was founded, its goal was to “liberate” Taiwan from the oppressive rule of KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his imperialist American allies who sought to claim Taiwan as their own.

A number of White Terror cases in Taiwan were tied to this party, but further analysis shows that Taimeng was focused on China and had little clout in Taiwan. The KMT used the name as an excuse to arrest suspected communists, while other organizations operated under the name as a cover.

OPPOSE THE KMT

Hsieh met Yang when he joined the Taiwanese Communist Party in Japanese-ruled Taiwan in the late 1920s and 1930s, both spending significant time in prison for their activities. Su, who once opposed Hsieh as party leader, was also jailed around the same time.

When Hsieh learned that the KMT was coming to take over Taiwan after Japan’s defeat, she issued a “Message to the Youth of Taiwan,” noting that if the new government didn’t give Taiwan democracy, they would continue to fight.

Hsieh founded the leftist Taiwan People’s Association (台灣人民協會) in September 1945, but the KMT forcefully disbanded it in January 1946. They kept their activities underground until the 228 Incident broke out. They made contact with the CCP after arriving in China and were soon dispatched to Hong Kong.

During the 228 Incident, Su ran a newspaper that criticized Taiwanese who sought to compromise with the government. He fled to China after escaping the large-scale newspaper purge in March 1947, reuniting with Hsieh and Yang in Hong Kong, and setting aside their past differences.

“Although we engaged in an intense factional struggle 20 years ago, I felt very happy that we were able to fight for the revolution together,” Su writes in his autobiography.

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