A TASTE OF FREEDOM: Memoirs of a Formosan Independence Leader by Peng Ming-min

A TASTE OF FREEDOM: Memoirs of a Formosan Independence Leader

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ming-min's only deed as a nationalist leader was to publish an immediately confiscated remonstrance against Chiang Kai-shek's occupation of his native Formosa. For the rest Ming-min abstained from politics, but despite his unheroic character, his hatred for Chiang's violation of human rights comes across vividly. After gaining a good education in wartime Japan, where he lost an arm in the bombing of Nagasaki, Ming-min finished his studies in Formosa and watched the Kuomintang forces arrive: ""within 18 months they looted our island."" Health and transportation services disintegrated, private property was pillaged. Ming-min recalls the 1947 uprising and its suppression by Chiang's army and secret police; ""Editors and teachers, lawyers and doctors who dared to criticize the government were killed or imprisoned."" Suppressing his desire for vengeance he continues to avoid politics and travels to McGill University in Canada, where he does distinguished work on the law of international air space. When he returns he is used as a Formosan ""token"" by the Chiang regime. Students and others look to him as a symbol of liberalism; the Kuomintang hoped to keep him as intellectual window-dressing, but after his proclamation was banned he refused ""re-education"" and was sentenced to eight years. After serving 14 months he is unemployed and harassed by the Gestapo-like secret police, and decides to flee. His family is left behind. Ming-min's narrative blames Chiang exclusively without a word of reproach for Chiang's American masters; but he is utterly honest about the horrors of the regime and its squandering and looting of both Formosan resources and subsequent U.S. aid. A noteworthy testament.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1972
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston