2/24/2007

Chinese Exploit Formosa Worse Than [Japanese] Did

I came across an interesting article from June 10th, 1946 in Time, the magazine that made Chiang Kai-shek and Song May-lin "Man and Woman of the Year" three years prior while searching for the March 14, 1946 headline of The Washington Daily News, which ran with this: "Exclusive Inside Report: Chinese Exploit Formosa Worse Than Japs Did".
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"At last, eight months after V-J day, sugar-starved China was getting supplies from its new sugarbowl, Formosa. Ships were plying the 400 miles from Kiirun to Shanghai with the first of 150,000 tons of Japanese stores confiscated by the Chinese Army that took over the island, under U.S. tutelage, last fall. But the resumption of trade with tropically lush, industrially rich Formosa was a sweet-&-sour business.

Formosans complained that the Chinese occupation army was looting stocks, letting crops, refineries, railroads and power plants go to rack & ruin. Just as angry Shanghailanders, who could buy only from the government-backed Formosa Sugar Co., feared that a colossal sugar corner was being rigged in the already disastrous black market."
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I think it was decided that the railroads and power plants were packed off to China to feed the war effort or just to be sold off so that corrupt officials could pocket the money.

"Of the Moon & Sun. The Japanese, who seized Formosa after their first war on China 50 years ago, ruthlessly exploited its land and people. Formosa made Japan the world's fourth sugar-producer; it yielded enough rice to feed all the Mikado's armies as well as coal and tin, gold, silver and copper; teak and camphor (70% of U.S. mothballs) and aromatic Oolong tea. At mountain-ringed Jitsu-Getsu-Tan—Lake of the Moon and Sun—the Japanese built the nucleus of a power system that put Formosa industrially ahead of the Philippines."
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Chen Yi (Taiwan's first KMT governor) put a member of his own family at the head of Taiwan's multi-million dollar tea industry.

"The Taiwan (after the island's Asiatic name) Development Co. rigidly controlled industry and trade, brought half a million Japanese to live among six million Formosans (chiefly Chinese who have pushed the Malayan headhunters into the mountains). World War II brought B-29 raids to Formosa, and liberation brought the scarcely more welcome visitation of Chinese bureaucracy. (Formosans use the adjective "Chinese" as a synonym for inefficiency and confusion.) The new Chinese Governor Chen Yi found the raid-battered Formosans docile. He promptly put his nephew in charge of the Taiwan Co., which bought coal at 200 yen a ton and sold it at 4,000. Black-market gold sold at 300,000 Chinese dollars an ounce, against $180,000 in Shanghai. Even in fertile Formosa, mass starvation threatened.

Japan Got the Atom. Chen Yi rounded up scores of 'collaborators' while his pooh-bahs made themselves snug. Last week "Down with the Governor!" posters appeared all over the island. In two towns, hungry natives burned sugar godowns. Formosans greeted the few visiting Americans with: 'You were kind to the Japanese, you dropped the atom on them. You dropped the Chinese on us!'

Thoughtful Chinese on the mainland began to agree with the Formosans. Said Ta Rung Pao, China's counterpart of the New York Times: 'Fundamentally speaking, China was not qualified to take over . . . she lacks the men . . . technique . . . commodities . . . capital. She governs, but is inefficient. She takes, but she does not give. This is the government's shame.'
Most foreign observers in Formosa agreed that if a referendum were taken today Formosans would vote for U.S. rule. Second choice—Japan."

Note: None of these companies, stolen from Taiwan by the KMT, originally had China or Chinese in their names.

13 comments:

Prince Roy said...

I wonder what the 'Formosans' would have said if someone had taken a similar poll during the first few years of Japanese occupation..err, pardon me, 'adminstration'. You know, while the Japanese were slaughtering the Taiwanese resistance.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Most of the Formosans capitulated immediately. Prominent citizens greeted the Japanese landing in Keelung and showed them the way to Taipei.

Throughout the Ching Dynasty, Formosans who believed they were from Quanzhou (泉州) fought Formosans from Zhangzhou (漳州) or Chaozhou (潮州) or Hakka or the 23 (12 official) Aboriginal nations. And all of these groups avoided the Ching officials.

There was some resistence to the Japanese at first. The Yunlin Massacre of 1896 (6000 killed) points to this. Some Aborigines fought the Japanese into the thirties. Still in 1895 there wasn't any sort of "we" on Formosa. These groups mistrusted each other. The Japanese were just one more group to dislike.

Michael Turton said...

I wonder what the 'Formosans' would have said if someone had taken a similar poll during the first few years of Japanese occupation..err, pardon me, 'adminstration'. You know, while the Japanese were slaughtering the Taiwanese resistance.

LOL. That sounds like the kind of non sequitor Poagao would say. Of course they didn't want to be ruled by Japan. They wanted to be left alone to feud amongst themselves.

Great post, great article, Patrick.

Michael

Anonymous said...

"..Still in 1895 there wasn't any sort of "we" on Formosa. These groups mistrusted each other. The Japanese were just one more group to dislike..."

Indeed, it's easy to forget how recent a development the modern sense of Nation is. Until fairly recently, in many places (and even today in many places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Maylasia and..um...Taiwan), loyalties were primarily based more tribal and ethnic identities than on the idea of a Nation.

It is very interesting to see how that notion of Nation is developing now in Taiwan. Of course, part of understanding what's happening in Taiwan now, involves understanding how confused and convoluted the Taiwanese sense of nationality has been, and how the KMT regime perpetuated that state of confusion.

It's interesing also to see that in many so-called modern and increasingly multi-cultural nations that were previously thought of as having a single dominant ethnic identity (perhaps USA, France and the UK among many others...as well as Taiwan), national identity is increasingly coming to be seen as being seen as based in a set of common values rather than in a common ethnic idenity.

China is the best example of a nation that continues to base its national identity (and its claims on other nations) on the factor of race. Besides China, what are some other examples of nations officially using race (to the extent that China is) as its primary factor of national identity and claims on other nations?

Patrick Cowsill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick Cowsill said...

Taiwan has been using race for the past 60 years "as its primary factor of national identity." Even today, someone born in Taiwan to two "foreign" parents is not granted citizenship.

Taiwan also makes claims on citizens of other nations, based on race. That is why it gives "overseas Chinese" special status. At my university, National Chengchi University, there is even an "Overseas Chinese" department that first separates these individuals from other "foreigners" and then facilitates them. Its mandate is as follows: "An independent subdivision is established to address the special needs of from overseas Chinese students pursuing higher education in their own culture. Its work covers issues arising from learning, living in Taiwan, and extracurricular activities."

It's sad to see that the DPP government has does nothing to reverse this in Taiwan over the past seven years

Anonymous said...

Great post and thank you for pointing out that Taiwan has gone backwards under the reign of KMT. I suggest the DPP should have you to speak for Taiwan, and to tell the KMT addicted losers what you have observed in Taiwan, together we can make Taiwan a better place and moreover, a NORMAL NATION.

Hope you don't mind I link your artocle to a forum where I'd like all the members there to read this.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Sure, link it up if you want. I agree with the comment on my blog that the Internet represents the "marketplace of ideas".

I'd be curious about what discussion you're bringing my post into though.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to you, as we always say in Taiwanese. The linked URL is http://www.metro.com.tw/bbs/viewthread.php?tid=46710&pid=286480&page=5&extra=###

炳炎 said...

Hi, Everyone,
I am a web reader in Taiwan. This topic is most important for the Formosan. We has web site to discuss the same topics: http://www.520.tw/blog/?p=256
Thank you,
And watch my site, too. It presents the US Aide to Taiwan and a lot of Formosan history.
http://pylin.kaishao.idv.tw

Patrick Cowsill said...

Thanks for directing me to this interesting blog.

There is a translated (Chinese) version of "Chinese Exploit Formosa Worse Than Japs Did" there.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Follow-up: this individual has translated this newspaper into Chinese (the one advertising his blog above). I made a comment about what he was doing, and he deleted it. Go figure.

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Sorry for offtopic