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.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
LUCKY DATE: The man picked the 10th ‘Super Red Envelope’ in a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10 A man who recently broke up with his girlfriend won a NT$1 million (US$32,929) prize in the “NT$20 million Super Red Envelope” lottery after picking a card based on the date of their breakup, Taiwan Lottery Co said yesterday. The man, in his 20s, bought the 10th ticket at a lottery store in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢), because he broke up with his girlfriend on Jan. 10, the store owner told the lottery company. The “Super Red Envelope” lottery was a limited offering by the company during the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday. The cards, which cost NT$2,000 each, came with
TOURISM BOOST: The transportation system could help attract more visitors to the area, as the line is to connect multiple cultural sites, a city councilor said Residents in New Taipei City’s Ankeng District (安坑) said the local light rail system might have a positive influence, but raised questions about its practicality. The Ankeng light rail system, which is to commence operations after the Lunar New Year holiday, would cut travel time for commuters from Ankeng to downtown Taipei or New Taipei City by 15 to 20 minutes, the city government said. According to the initial plan, there would be one train every 15 minutes during peak time and additional interval trains would run between the densely populated Ankang Station (安康) and Shisizhang Station (十 四張). To encourage people to
CHAMPION TREES: The team used light detection and ranging imaging to locate the tree, and found that it measured a height of 84.1m and had a girth of 8.5m A team committed to finding the tallest trees in the nation yesterday said that an 84.1m tall Taiwania cryptomerioides tree had been named the tallest tree in Taiwan and East Asia. The Taiwan Champion Trees, a team consisting of researchers from the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in June last year used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) imaging to find the giant tree, numbered 55214, upstream of the Daan River (大安溪). A 20-member expedition team led by Rebecca Hsu (徐嘉君), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, set out to find the