Thu, Apr 14, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Man pushes for soldiers to be buried in cemetery

By Wang Chin-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Local residents on Thursday last week pray at the graves of eight soldiers in Sikou Village, in Hualien County’s Shoufeng Township.

Photo: Wang Chin-yi, Taipei Times

The bodies of eight soldiers who came to Taiwan with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) army and died more than six decades ago might be moved to a military cemetery, following the efforts of a man who found their graves several years ago on land leased from the government in Sikou Village (溪口) in Hualien County’s Shoufong Township (壽豐).

Chiang Kuo-chih (江國治) said that since finding the graves he had tended them every Tomb Sweeping Day, and had also left offerings.

Chiang said that on Wednesday last week he and several friends cleared the graves of weeds and other undergrowth.

Then he contacted Jian Township (吉安) representative Lin Yuan-fu (林源富) to see if the tombs could be moved to a military cemetery, he said, adding that the township is his home town.

Lin’s spokesperson, Yang Chin-fu (楊進福), said that the office surmised that the soldiers were responsible for guarding the railway bridge crossing the Shoufong River (壽豐溪), which was then under the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Garrison Command’s eastern Taiwan defensive zone that had been established in 1950.

The bodies in seven of the graves were identified by the tombstones as Army Major Chao Kuang-fu (趙銧福); 54th Army 8th Division Major Chen Li-hsin (陳立新); army corporals Liu Pang-hai (劉邦海) and Lee Hsiao-fu (李小福), and first-class privates Wang Li-liang (王禮良), Chiang Wen-ho (江文河) and Su Ying-chao (蘇應昭).

The inscription on the tombstone of the other grave is too faded to be read, Yang said.

The soldiers were about 20 or 30 when they passed away in 1954 or 1955, Yang said, adding that the county government thinks they died due to adverse weather.

Yang said the county hoped to discover the stories of these soldiers who died so far from home, so their lives could be commemorated.

Many military personnel are buried in Jian Township’s Beichang (北昌) and Daichang (太昌) public cemeteries, Lin said, adding that he hoped the bodies of the eight soldiers could be relocated to military cemeteries where they would be cared for by the nation they gave their lives for.

The incident is heartbreaking, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who represents Hualien County, said, adding that the Ministry of National Defense should look into the matter and attempt to find out how many soldiers who died after following the KMT to Taiwan had been buried in such a way.

Hsiao said she had instructed her aides to contact the ministry and ask whether the soldiers’ remains could be moved to a military cemetery where they would receive the respect and dignity they deserve.

This story has been viewed 1807 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top