Books that were banned in Taiwan during the White Terror era were displayed at the Seoul International Book Fair, which closed yesterday.
The Taipei International Book Exhibition Foundation contributed to the “Banned Books: Spirits from the Bamboo Grove” exhibition at the invitation of the fair, alongside publishers’ associations from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey, as well as Seoul National University.
The chief planners of the Taiwanese content were publisher and former presidential adviser Rex How (郝明義), who is also the foundation’s managing supervisor, and Liao Wei-min (廖為民), who wrote The Story of Banned Books in Taiwan (台灣禁書的故事).
Photo courtesy of the Taipei International Book Exhibition Foundation
The organizations collaborated to display the formerly forbidden books to contextualize the history of literary censorship in Asia and to highlight the importance of freedom of the press, How said on Thursday.
Books on display were selected from the vast array of works proscribed during the White Terror era, or the period from 1949 to 1987 when the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government ruled via martial law, he said.
The selection was a cross-section of the government’s press censorship, he said.
The government suppressed works of communist literature, such as Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto, and books written by intellectuals who stayed in China after 1949, such as Lu Xun’s (魯迅) The True Story of Ah-Q (阿Q正傳) and Lao She’s (老社) Rickshaw Boy (駱駝祥子), he said.
The Legends of the Condor Heroes (射鵰英雄傳), a Wuxia novel — a genre of fiction about martial artists in ancient China — was banned because its author, Hong Konger Jin Yong (金庸), was suspected of having leftist sympathies and ties to Beijing, How said.
Books whose subject matter touched upon the 228 Massacre or the Japanese colonial era were banned, such as Su Ben’s (史明) Taiwan’s 400 Year History (台灣人四百年史), or books written by liberals who the government persecuted, including Lei Chen (雷震) and Yin Hai-kuang (殷海光), he said.
Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son and successor Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) also banned books by people who they held grudges against, such as Bo Yang (柏楊) and Chiang Nan (江南), he said.
Li Ai’s (李敖) books were banned because he was known for spurning authority, while An Anthology of Dangwai Literature (黨外文選) by Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) and Chen Chu (陳菊) was banned for being political literature originating from outside the KMT, he said.
The government also suppressed works deemed to challenge traditional sexual mores, such as sociologist Zhang Jingsheng’s (張競生) A History of Sex (性史) and Kuo Liang-hui’s (郭良蕙) The Locked Heart (心鎖), he said.
A DECADE’S WORK: The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon has collected more than 20,000 words and phrases, and is expected to help people learning the Liu Dui dialect The Liu Dui Culture Research Association on Saturday unveiled the nation’s first domestically compiled lexicon of Hakka-language words in the Liu Dui dialect, an effort that took a decade of work and cost about NT$7 million (US$233,085 at the current exchange rate). The two-volume, 1,400-page lexicon collected more than 20,000 phrases and words, and is estimated to be of great value in helping people learn the Liu Dui dialect and culture, the association said. It could also become a reference book for teachers, the association added. The lexicon collected phrases and common words used in daily speech, as well as local sayings, phrases
EXPANSION: The transportation ministry is to subsidize Taipei and Kaohsiung’s purchase of 63 multipurpose taxis, as well as the payment of incentives for drivers The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is appropriating nearly NT$60 million (US$2 million) to subsidize plans by the Taipei City Government and the Kaohsiung City Government to expand their multipurpose taxi fleets, it said over the weekend. The ministry said that it has since 2013 subsidized the multipurpose taxi service nationwide, as it has become a way for disabled people to travel. The nation has 980 multipurpose taxis, including 301 in Taipei and 272 in Kaohsiung, ministry statistics showed. Last year, the service was accessed more than 200,000 times in Taipei and 460,000 times in Kaohsiung, which the ministry said shows
The One Bear Museum in Hsinchu County’s Guansi Township (關西), a teddy bear museum once touted by the county government as a “luminous pearl” along Provincial Highway No. 13, is facing possible closure. The museum’s building, which was provided by the county government, has a serious water leakage problem and lacks a parking lot for buses to bring in tour groups, Hsinchu County Councilor Lo Shih-shi (羅仕琦) said on Saturday. The county government should step in to rescue the museum, or the negative reviews about the museum on the Internet might affect visitors’ impression of the township and the county, he said. The
‘NATIONAL SECURITY PROBLEM’: Two DPP legislators said the government needs to help public agencies replace Chinese equipment and pass legislation banning their use More than 200 government entities are together using 1,108 telecommunications devices from Chinese brands, posing a cybersecurity risk, a government report showed. At the suggestion of the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee last year, the Executive Yuan investigated 7,704 public institutions to see whether they were using or had procured telecoms equipment manufactured by Chinese companies. They found that as of April 13, of the 3,837 public institutions that responded to their requests, 228 said they had been using equipment made by Chinese brands, including mobile phones, video cameras, drones and other Internet-related devices. The report highlighted products from seven brands considered to