Mon, Nov 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Book on White Terror Era focuses on young readers

By Chen Yu-hsun, Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The National Human Rights Museum on Saturday released a new book by National Taiwan University history professor Chou Wan-yao (周婉窈) on the White Terror Era that includes the stories of political victims Huang Chiu-shuang (黃秋爽) and Tsai Kun-lin (蔡焜霖).

The book, titled The Road to Transitional Justice — The Past and Future of an Island (轉型正義之路─島嶼的過去與未來), is the “first book in Taiwan on transitional justice written for adolescent readers,” the museum said at a book launch at the Academia Historica building in Taipei.

Huang said she was 19 years old in 1950 when her father, Huang Tien (黃天), and her mother, Lin Yu-mei (林玉梅), were captured by intelligence officers.

Their family of seven was detained in prison and she was given a one-year sentence after being charged with “failure to report a crime,” she said.

In prison, they “slept like sardines, cramped in a tight space,” Huang Chiu-shuang said.

“In 1949, everyone thought they could welcome the ‘homeland’ with great enthusiasm,” she said. “Little did they know Taiwan would later experience inflation, food shortages and economic downfall.”

“The so-called ‘restoration’ was a disaster,” she added.

Tsai, 89, said he was taken away by military police “for having participated in a book club” on his way to work one day.

He was later “caught up in the Taipei telecommunications bureau case for no reason” and sentenced to 10 years in prison, he said.

He began serving his sentence in 1950, he said, adding that when he was first jailed he was beaten and subjected to electric shocks.

He is thankful to have survived and to be able to share the past with younger generations, he added.

Young people seldom seek out this part of history, which is why she wrote the book for adolescents, Chou said.

Two chapters in the book — “Imagine You Are a White Terror Victim” (想像你是白色恐怖受難者) and “Daily Life Under Martial Law: There is a Small Garrison Command in Everyone’s Heart” (戒嚴下的日常:人人心中有個小警總) — aim to connect the White Terror Era to everyday life, she said.

She hopes the stories of Huang Chiu-shuang, Tsai, Chang Chang-mei (張常美) and Chang Chin-hsing (張金杏) will resonate with young audiences, as they were all captured and sent to jail as teens, she said.

In related news, the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee has partnered with Academia Historica to bring an exhibition of documents titled “Shared Economy: Ill-gotten Assets in Taiwan” (被共享的經濟:不當黨產在台灣) to Nantou County.

The exhibition is being hosted at Taiwan Historica’s Wenwu House, in Jhongsing New Village (中興新村), until March 31, the committee said.

The exhibition was well-received by young audiences during its two-day run at the SPOT-Taipei Film House in August, so the committee arranged for it to travel to Nantou, a committee member said.

The Nantou edition of the exhibition includes more historical documents than the previous one, they added.

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