An 80-year-old who was falsely imprisoned following the 1952 Luku Incident (鹿窟事件) has published a memoir of the dark chapter in the White Terror era on a bid to do justice to history and commemorate others caught up in the events.
The Luku Incident began with a four-month military campaign to uncover and arrest alleged “communists” said to be operating in the mountainous areas around Luku Village, which borders now-New Taipei City’s Sijhih (汐止) and Shiding (石碇) districts. The action saw 35 people sentenced to death and 98 imprisoned, making it one of the harshest episodes of suppression during the White Terror era.
Lee Shih-Cheng (李石城), the author of the memoir, also financed the building of a memorial column at Sijhih’s Daqijiao (大崎腳) in 2000 to commemorate an uprising organized by a group of townspeople, including his father, against the Japanese colonial government more than 100 years ago, he said.
Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times
The resistance, composed of a group of untrained and insufficiently armed citizens, was met by a superior Japanese force, resulting in heavy causalities, with 99 people killed at Daqijiao. The Japanese government branded those involved in the uprising “bandits,” a stigmatizing term Lee aimed to correct by establishing the column.
He was also called a “communist bandit” when he was 17 and served 10 years in prison following the Luku Incident, he said.
Lee was born to poor farmers in Sijhih and he received only two years elementary education before leaving to work on the family farm, he said.
He was underage when he was recruited by villagers, including a distant relative of his, into an armed group active in the mountains around Luku Village, he said.
He became a member of the group’s “youth vanguard,” but he did not do anything illegal and received no financial benefit, he said, adding that he only offered the group friendly support.
However, government forces laid siege to Luku and the surrounding areas in December 1952 to crack down on what they termed “a communist rebellion,” and more than 200 people were arrested, interrogated and tortured, he said.
Lee suffered spinal injuries and lost his teeth under torture, but he denied any involvement in the so-called rebellion, knowing that an admission of guilt meant certain death, he said.
“I escaped death but not a prison term,” he said.
He was given a 10-year sentence for his “involvement in a communist organization and attempt to overthrow the government,” he said
The court commuted the sentence to five years as Lee was only 17, but he was not released until he was 28 — after having served the full 10 years, he said.
His mother died shortly after he was imprisoned, but he did not find out until after his release, he said.
He was originally denied employment as his identification card indicated that he was restricted from military service — usually signifying a criminal record — but a fellow villager later gave him a mining job, he said.
Having survived hard times, he went on to father a family of five, and his children are all doing well, he said.
He wrote his memoir to document the injustices of the White Terror era and pay tribute to his fellow victims, he said, adding that he taught himself to read and write during his imprisonment.
He said that history must not be forgotten so people do not make the same mistakes, and that he had learned to let go of the bitterness and resentment.
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s major war games, are to start today and run for five days. The drills are to include a military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing exercise on a regular roadway on Wednesday, featuring all three fighter jet models in Taiwan’s fleet, a military source said last week. The drill is to begin at 6:30am on a 3km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 in Pingtung County’s Jiadong Township (佳冬), and feature an Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft, the source said. The emergency landing and takeoff drill aims to
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
Taiwan on Friday accused China of seeking to use the Honduran election to “create controversy” and undermine Taiwan’s long-standing ties with the country, saying it would strive to win support for Honduras’ relations with Taipei. Honduras’ main left-wing opposition party, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to “readjust” the country’s debt and establish diplomatic relations with China. Honduras is one of 15 UN member countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already warned Honduras not
WORKING TOGETHER: Masahisa Sato said that the Liberal Democratic Party is aiming to share ideas about Taiwan-related policies and improve ties with Taiwan Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly being threatened by China, and like-minded nations should work together to resist such threats, Japanese politicians said. Japanese House of Representatives members Keiji Furuya and Masahisa Sato made the comments in a video played on Friday at a conference held by the Taiwan Japan Academy in Taipei. Furuya praised President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration for its efforts in reinforcing exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia through the New Southbound Policy. Taiwan also has interests in the Pacific Islands region, but they have come under threat from China in the past few years,