An exhibition that opened on Wednesday in New Taipei City is focusing on the lesser-known stories of women during the White Terror era, a period of political persecution in Taiwan that lasted from 1949 to 1987.
Titled “A Jail Beyond the Prison Walls,” the exhibition features displays such as letters written by political prisoners to their families, and video interviews with White Terror victims, their wives, daughters and sisters. Also on display are photographs, artworks, personal notes and court verdicts, all pertaining to political prisoners during the White Terror era.
“For many years, the discussion on the White Terror era was focused on the political victims themselves — how and why they were imprisoned and their lives after prison — but we cannot exclude the stories of their families if we wish to gain a comprehensive understanding of the collective pain and suffering of our society,” National Human Rights Museum Preparatory Office director Wang Yi-chun (王逸群) said.
Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times
Among the items on display is a seashell painting that political prisoner Tseng Meng-lan (曾夢蘭) made in prison for his daughter Tseng Yu-pin (曾玉霦). The painting features two white cranes on a tree and is signed “from father.”
In a written account, Tseng Yu-pin said her father’s imprisonment had deeply affected her family and her relationships with men.
She once turned down the attentions of a young man because she did not want to get him into trouble, she said.
“Ten years of imprisonment had damaged my father, body and soul. How could he start over again?” she said.
Meanwhile, Ho Ying-hung (何穎紅) spoke of his mother’s enduring love for his father Ho Chuan (何川), a school teacher who was executed during the White Terror period.
“Each year, before the anniversary of my father’s death, my mother would spend over a week writing a letter to him, telling him about our lives and how the children were doing at school,” said Ho Ying-hung, whose father was killed on June 17, 1951.
“If all of those letters had been kept, they would’ve been a great collection of work,” he said.
Last month, the National Human Rights Museum Preparatory Office and Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History jointly published the oral history collection A Jail Beyond the Prison Walls: Untold Stories by Female Family Members of White Terror Victims.
Through the exhibition and publication, Wang said, he hopes young people can learn more about the painful period in Taiwan’s history and safeguard the country’s hard-won democracy.
“Only if every young person and visitor is willing to understand their own history will these same mistakes be prevented,” he said.
The White Terror refers to the suppression of political dissidents in Taiwan following the 228 Incident, an anti-government uprising in 1947 and the subsequent brutal crackdown by the then-authoritarian regime of the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). During the White Terror period, many people were killed and 140,000 to 200,000 people — many of them intellectuals and social elites — were imprisoned. The White Terror era lasted until the lifting of martial law in Taiwan in 1987. The exhibition will run until Dec. 30 at the Jing-Mei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park.
921 EARTHQUAKE: The magnitude 7.3 quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged The Central Weather Bureau yesterday received about 50,000 views on Facebook after it posted the data that it collected on Sept. 21, 1999, when the nation was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. The data showed that the 921 Earthquake hit the nation at 1:47am, with the epicenter being 7km southwest of the bureau’s quake detection center in Nantou County’s Yuchi Township (魚池) at a depth of 8km. The quake left 2,456 people dead and 10,718 injured, while 53,661 houses were fully destroyed and 53,024 houses damaged, with the cost of the damage estimated at NT$300 billion (US$10.8 billion at the current
British newspaper The Mail on Sunday reported that Prince Charles met with Bruno Wang (汪家興), a Taiwanese fugitive who describes himself as a Chinese philanthropist and donated ￡500,000 (US$683,522) to the prince’s charity, the Prince’s Foundation. The newspaper reported that Wang is wanted in Taiwan on charges related to money laundering and being a fugitive from justice, allegations he denies, and drew comparisons between Wang and the Russian banker Dmitry Leus. Investigation and cooperation with foreign authorities have found that Bruno Wang’s father, Andrew Wang (汪傳浦), had stashed proceeds from a scandal involving the procurement of Lafayette frigates in 61 bank accounts,
AT ODDS: The KMT called on the government to seek bilateral dialogue with Beijing to resolve the issue that led to the ban on custard apple and wax apple imports Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials and lawmakers yesterday condemned China’s sudden ban on imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan as “obvious political retaliation,” while the opposition called for a scientific investigation into Beijing’s claim to have found pests in imports of the fruits. China earlier yesterday announced a ban on the importation of the two fruits from today, citing repeated discoveries of Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug. The announcement follows a similar ban on Taiwanese pineapples imposed in February. At least Beijing gave a few days’ notice when it banned pineapple imports, an unnamed government official said yesterday. This time
BY OTHER MEANS: China could see CPTPP membership as a means of circumventing trade restrictions imposed by the US, amid an ongoing trade dispute between them The US could invoke a clause in its trade agreement with Canada and Mexico to block China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a government official said yesterday. Under Article 32.10 of the Exceptions and General Provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if either Canada or Mexico enter a free-trade agreement with a nonmarket economy — such as China — the US could withdraw from the agreement. “If that clause applies to multilateral free-trade agreements such as the CPTPP — which Mexico and Canada are members of — that might be cause for the two