Wednesday, October 30, 2013

KMT Dictatorship Era Propaganda Continues to Fester in Academic Publications

In an A.D. 2000  publication, Language Planning in Nepal, Taiwan and Sweden, edited by Richard B. Baldauf, Jr. and Robert B. Kaplan, the writer of the section on Taiwan, Feng-fu Tsao, weaves into his narrative lies and propaganda of the KMT Dictatorship Era. Perhaps he, himself is ignorant of the truth. For a linguist like Dr. Tsao who seems to advocate preserving non-Mandarin languages, he should realize that the first step to doing so is helping language speakers have an accurate understanding of their own history. It is regrettable that the editors did not do more fact checking. Following is a review written on Google Books.

We would like to ask the readers of the blog that whenever you come across propaganda like that, please write a review correcting it. If we keep hammering the factual inaccuracies, perhaps academics will finally get the message.


This book contains many errors regarding Taiwan's history, particularly concerning the post-Japanese era.  It shows a bias towards the propaganda promulgated during the dictatorship era of the Chinese Nationalist Party.

The writer claims that the Chinese Nationalists from China were more educated than the Taiwanese;  to the contrary, the Taiwanese were vastly more educated having studied in the Japanese imperial university -- doctors, lawyers, societal leaders.  Think: the Chinese Nationalists had been fighting wars for years in China while Taiwan was at peace under an advanced colonial administration where Taiwanese had formed political parties and had a thriving written culture, recording arts, etc. I have heard personal accounts that for example, the Chinese Nationalist officers in the army were so ignorant that they did not know about plumbing.  In one case, a Chinese Nationalist Party officer was amazed how water came out of spigots and so he went to a local shop and bought many and started putting them into the walls.  He got angry because no water came out of the spigots and assumed that the Taiwanese supplier had cheated him.

Further, while the writers claim that the 228 Massacre was supposedly "put down troops from the Mainland," the troops from China were the ones who actually perpetrated the massacre.  Chen Yi's handling of Taiwan was not one of ethnic or linguistic misunderstanding but rather a systematic corrupt policy of stripping the wealth of the Taiwanese people and putting it into the hands of corrupt Chinese Nationalist Party officials.  Declaring monopolies on products, seizing businesses and assets, and rampant inflation of the currency caused the Taiwanese people to rise up against the oppressors.  Committees of citizens ran out the corrupt officials in each town and formed negotiating committees to demand political reforms from Chen Yi.  While he pretended to negotiate, he sent telegrams to China for Chiang Kai-shek to send troops.  They arrived in Keelung and then marched throughout Taiwan killing Taiwanese.  All of the Taiwanese leaders of each town whom Chen Yi had information about were arrested and executed.  It is estimated that 20,000 Taiwanese were murdered in 1947.  To save bullets, Taiwanese who were rounded up were tied together; then one was shot in the head and fell into the river dragging the other two with him so that they drowned.

For a factual record of the 228 Massacre, we recommend starting with reading Formosa Betrayed by George H. Kerr, who provides eye witness accounts of that event.

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