Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015 Taiwan Summer Trip 07: The Prisons of White Terror, New Life Correction Center and Oasis Villa

At the morning of second day on Green Island, my brother and I went for snorkeling. This is the second times I snorkeled, the last times was 9 years ago at Redang Island. Compared with the snorkeling at Redang, it is required to wear diving suit and boots here. The snorkeling area was just at sea shore, so we walked into the sea directly. In Redang, we need to take ferry to an area further away from the Island for snorkeling.

The snorkeling was quite nice. The fishes were so colorful. One of them was so special with its long tip at its head. The coach let us to feed those fishes with bread. Those fishes just hurried to our surroundings once the bread drop into sea. They moved so fast till I couldn't see them clearly. However, it must be careful to feed them as their teeth were quite sharp. My brother's finger was hurt when feeding them. For the corals, it isn't pretty as what I imagined.

After lunch, we started to explore each interesting sites on the island. Due to the overwhelming number of sites, two posts will be used to describe these places. The first one is about the Green Island under White Terror, while the second one is about the natural scenery of the island.

Green Island is one of the offshore islands at east side of Taiwan. It was used as prisons to imprison political inmates during the reign of Martial Law (1974 - 1987). During this 38 years of rule by White Terror, two political prisons were set up in this island. The first one was the New Life Correction Center (1951 - 1965), operated by the Taiwan Security Command, while the second prison was the Ministry of National Defense Green Island Reform and Reeducation Prison (1972 - 1987), also known as Oasis Villa.

Oasis Villa Rock, behind was Elephant's Trunk Rock, or known as "Devil's Gate" by the prisoners during the period of New Life Correction Center. There was a checkpoint set between these two rocks. The prisoners must pass the checkpoint first before entering the area of New Life Correction Center. Since there was almost no hope to be released, the prisoners treated the checkpoint as a gate to death.

"Exterminate the Communists, Restore the Country" slogan beside Oasis Villa

Administration building of Oasis Villa

Chushan Bridge, the bridge linked to visiting area that families meet their loved ones

The introduction board in Administration building

The exit of the prison that released inmates passed through

The prison, surrounded by high walls, is just behind the Administration Building. The building first seen is Auditorium, which has become an exhibition hall. The history of prisons on Green Island, dated back to 1911, and the political prisoner rescue efforts during 1970s are shown in this hall. After the 228 incident, Taiwan imposed martial law for 38 years. More than 7000 civilians were arrested as political prisoner and went through interrogation, torture, trial and finally executed or imprisoned.

The prisoners during New Life Correction Center were divided into 12 squadrons, one of the squadrons was female. These New Lifers were forced to reform through labour and reeducate. Even the cells were built by rocks collected from the beach themselves. Those who died due to illness, suicide or execution were buried near Swallow Cave. The cemetery was namedas 13th Squadron.

Before Korean War ended, the government started a campaign called "One Man One Contribution, Save the Country with Conscience", which forced New Lifers to "voluntarily" show their loyalty by having themselves tattooed with "Oppose the Communists, Resist the Russians". The prisoners resisted and resulted in an execution of 14 prisoners, who were framed up for 1953 Recidivist Incident of New Life Correction Center. These prisoners were executed together with another 15 prisoners sentenced in Recidivist Incident of  Taipei Ankeng Military Prison.

After these two incidents, the government built Taiyuan Prison (1962 - 1972) to imprison political inmates. In 1970, pro-independence political inmates launched an armed revolution, but failed in the end. 5 inmates were executed in this incident. After that, the political inmates from Taiyuan Prison and other military prisons were transferred to a new prison, which is Oasis Villa, under surveillance of armed forces.

Bakua Building, the inmate cells of Oasis Villa

Bakua Building is the landmark of Oasis Villa. The building is now renovated as a memorial center, where the story of political inmates exhibits. Man-shaped board, illustrated by released inmates, was exhibited in cells.

The story of a Malaysian who studied in Taiwan during White Terror. He was framed up by the Security Command for the blast at US News Bureau, Tainan Branch (Oct 1970) and Citibank, Taipei Branch (Feb 1971). 

Anti-communist Slogans could be seen in Oasis Villa and walls outside.

"Taiwan Independence is poison to Taiwan, Communism is misery to everyone"

"Practicing Three Principles of the People, Recover Mainland China"

"Restore National Culture, Hold Democratic Formation"

Sentry pillbox

In 1970s, the name list of political prisoners in Chingmei Detention Center and Taiyuan Prison leaked out. It prompted the international rescue efforts spanned across decades. After 1979 Formosa Incident, Taiwan Kuomintang Government was condemned domestically and internationally. Finally, the martial law was rescinded in 1987, which marks the end of White Terror.


Astonishing Scenery and Seaweed Food at Green Island

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