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Heroes and Villains in the History of Taiwan

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Kim, Jae Woo
Term Paper, AP World History Class, Spring 2010

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. National Heroes of Taiwan
II.1 Zheng Chenggong
II.1.1 Biography
II.1.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Zheng Chenggong
II.1.3 The Reasons Why Taiwanese People Heroize Zheng Chenggong
II.1.4 Controversies
II.2 Mona Rudao
II.2.1 Biography
II.2.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Mona Rudao
II.2.3 The Reasons Why Taiwanese People Heroize Mona Rudao
II.2.4 Controversies
III. National Villains of Taiwan
III.1 Gu Xianrong
III.1.1 Biography
III.1.2 How Taiwanese People Perceive Gu Xianrong Villainous
III.1.3 The Reasons Why Taiwanese People Perceive Gu Xianrong Villainous
III.1.4 Controversies
IV. People Who Qualify for Both Heroes and Villains
IV.1 Chiang Kai Shek
IV.1.1 Biography
IV.1.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Kai Shek
IV.1.3 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Kai Shek
IV.1.4 How Taiwanese People Perceive Chiang Kai Shek Villainous
IV.1.5 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Regard Chiang Kai Shek as a Villain
IV.2 Chiang Jing Guo
IV.2.1 Biography
IV.2.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Jing Guo
IV.2.3 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Jing Guo
IV.2.4 How Taiwanese People Perceive Chiang Jing Guo Villainous
IV.2.5 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Regard Chiang Jing Guo as a Villain
V. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            Taiwan is an island country located in the south-eastern sea of mainland China. People have lived in Taiwan for more than fifty thousand years. It has gone through many struggles and changes such as colonization of Dutch and Japanese, which was followed by the settlement of Chiang Kai Shek and his people. These brought up significant effects to Taiwan, and many people have been involved in political, economic, social and cultural activities. In this paper, I carry on research on national heroes and villains of Taiwan, and analyze how and why they are considered heroes, villains or both.
            In the history of Taiwan, there have been a lot of figures who are remembered by Taiwanese, either as heroes or as villains. A hero is defined as 'a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.' (1), and villain as 'a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime' (2). These concepts of hero and villain can vary according to one¡¯s perspective. In this paper, the evaluation of historic figures in Taiwanese view is discussed.
            There are three main sources to analyze Taiwanese view on historical figures: Chinese Wikipedia, the translated version of Taiwan history book written by a renowned Taiwanese historian Zhou Wan Yao, (Taiwan), and Taiwanese history book for students, (Fast Reading Taiwanese History).
            To discuss about the validity of the sources, it seems reasonable to assume that two Taiwanese history books include contents that are widely accepted by Taiwanese society. (Taiwan) is written by Zhou Wan Yao who is one of the most renowned historians working in Academia Sinica, which is recognized as the main institution that study Taiwanese history, and (Fast Reading Taiwanese History) is a history book mainly for students. Chinese Wikipedia also seems to be fairly reliable source to get Taiwanese view on figures because most texts are written in old Chinese (in contrast to simplified Chinese) which is solely used in Taiwan.
            The paper is categorized into three sections, national heroes, national villains and people who qualify for both heroes and villains. For each person, subcategories are biography, how Taiwanese view the person, the reasons why Taiwanese view the person in such way, and controversies. Biography of the person is written as neutral as possible and focuses on facts. The second subcategory shows how the person is perceived by Taiwanese, and the third explains what the person did and its effects to Taiwanese. The last subcategory, controversies, discusses about different view on the person and consideration.

II. National Heroes of Taiwan

II.1 Zheng Chenggong

II.1.1 Biography
            Zheng Chenggong, widely known as Koxinga by colonial powers, was born in Hirado, Japan. His father was a Chinese merchant and pirate who accumulated wealth and influence over China and Japan. When Zheng was seven, he went across the sea to meet his father in Ming. He studied in Tai Xue () , which was an educational institute for high class people in China, and later became a Ming loyalist and the arch commander of the Ming troops (3). When Qing invaded Ming and finally collapsed Ming, Zheng organized his own troops and fought against Qing. In 1650, he received two islands, Jinmen and Xiamen, from his father to get financial support from overseas trade. In 1658, Zheng finally started a war with Qing, but he met a typhoon in the middle way, which destroyed one third of his ships. He changed his plan, and in the following year, Zheng decided to invade Nanjing before Beijing. His troops defeated Qing army in several important ports such as Jinchiang. However, Zheng experienced a huge defeat right before Nanjing and withdrew his troops to Xiamen. He gave up conquering Qing and chose to go to Taiwan to build up his strength. Most of Taiwan at the time was governed by Dutch East India Company. In 1661, Zheng came to Taiwan, and Dutch troops in Taiwan surrendered in 1662. Zheng Chenggong died in 1662 of Malaria in Tainan, Taiwan (4).

II.1.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Zheng Chenggong
            We can find that Taiwanese people heroize Zheng Chenggong from the portrayal of him. From the document westerners wrote during 17th century, they describe Zheng Chenggong as the one who has big, dark eyes with violent temper (5). However, the portrayal of Zheng Chenggong in Taiwanese National Museum and history text books draws him as a person with kind and generous appearance (6).
Figure 1. Zheng Chenggong's portrait from Taiwanese National Museum

            Some admirers, especially those in coastal region, believe Zheng Chenggong as a God and built a temple dedicated to Zheng Chenggong and his mother in Tainan city, Taiwan (7). Zheng Chenggong was recognized as Kaishan Wang, which means "the king who opened the way for pioneers in the mountains" (8).
            Also, Taiwanese built Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall to celebrate Zheng Chenggong¡¯s accomplishment of recovering Taiwan. It is located in Gulangyu Island in Xiamen, where Zheng Chenggong dispelled the Dutch East India Company and recovered Taiwan. Zheng Chenggong stationed and trained his navy in the place. The Memorial Hall covers the area of more than 13,000 square meters, and the bronze bust of Zheng Chenggong is erected in the front. The hall is also in the notable tourist attraction. (9)
            Taiwanese historians also write about Zheng Chenggong with terms and contents that praise him. The original text from (Fast Reading Taiwanese History) states (10):

The translation is : "The organization of armed sea traders (10a) came to Taiwan. Trade market, especially that of sugar/candy, developed much more¡¦ international trade was also accelerated. Taiwanese sugar/candy was even sold in Britain. British traders still have their trade facility in Tainan."
            In the text, the Taiwanese historian emphasizes the economic development done by the organization led by Zheng Chenggong with strong words such as 'much more' (). It also gives a specific example of good that were sold internationally. This illustrates that Zheng Chenggong is perceived as a person who benefited Taiwan economically.

II.1.3 The Reasons Why Taiwanese People Heroize Zheng Chenggong
            Zheng Chenggong was the loyalist of Ming who resisted to Qing rule by military force. This is very meaningful to Han Chinese because Qing was governed by Manchu people. Zheng pledged alliance to the throne of the Ming Dynasty. Although Zheng couldn¡¯t save Ming dynasty from Qing, he actually enjoyed several military successes against Qing (11). Afterward, he made the motto Kang Qing Fu Ming () which means 'fighting against Qing and Obeying Ming' in Taiwan, and maintained his political stance against Qing (12).
            Also, Zheng Chenggong first established Han Chinese government in Taiwan. Before Zheng came to Taiwan, Dutch and Spanish had built up their rules in Taiwan. Zheng defeated them and made his own Kingdom of Zheng family in 1662 (13). He brought advanced political system of Ming to Taiwan, which pushed out the system colonial powers had set up. For example, Zheng introduced a new type of bureaucracy to Taiwan with different names of position. Han Chinese then could get high positions in the society and rule their lands by themselves. (14)
            As Zheng Chenggong used Taiwan as the base to regain mainland China for the Ming dynasty, the country he established was called the Kingdom of Tungning. After Zheng¡¯s death, his son Zheng Jing became the king of Tungning. This first kingdom in Taiwan dedicated to rule the local people and reorganize the military force in Taiwan. (15)
            Economically, Zheng Chenggong¡¯s invasion was very beneficial to Taiwan. He brought advanced technology and agricultural methods from mainland China. The best examples are farming tools made of iron. Before Zheng came to Taiwan, iron-made agricultural implement was not very widespread in Taiwan. The introduction of new tools greatly contributes to agricultural development in Taiwan. Furthermore, Zheng also encouraged the farmers to use farming cattle () (16). This greatly improved the agricultural society in Taiwan, and developed Taiwan to be an agricultural center.
            Since Zheng Chenggong settled down in Taiwan, immigration of Han Chinese was accelerated, which greatly increased the number of labor in Taiwan (17). Sometimes, the government allocated skillful Han Chinese in aboriginal towns so that aborigines can learn advanced methods of farming (18).
            Development of agricultural society and increase in labor contribute to further economic development of Taiwan. Because Zheng Chenggong built up the basis for economic development in Taiwan, it could rapidly develop when his son, Zheng Jing, ruled the country after Zheng Chenggong. By late in the Zheng period, the Han Chinese population estimate in Taiwan was at 150,000 to 200,000 (19).
            To suppress Zheng Chenggong and Taiwanese economy, Qing banned the trade between coastal cities and Taiwan by 'coastal removal' policy, which required the entire coastal population moved 20 miles inland. This made Taiwan rely on international maritime trade, which was successful. (20)
            In cultural aspect, after Zheng Chenggong established his first Han Chinese country, there have been hundred thousands of immigrants coming into Taiwan. Most of them were Han Chinese from coastal region of mainland China (21). This inevitably brought Han Chinese culture to Taiwan. It was recorded that about one hundred twenty thousand Han Chinese were flowed into Taiwan with Zheng Chenggong. As we consider that the number of aborigines at the time was similar to this number, aborigines were affected by mainland Chinese culture (22). Furthermore, since most of people came into Taiwan with Zheng were soldiers, ratio of men was very high. This led to intermarriage between Han Chinese and aborigines, which accelerated the assimilation of Han Chinese culture. In fact, 85% of Taiwanese now have aborigines as a part of their ancestors (23).
            Also, Zheng Chenggong expanded the opportunity of education by building more schools and supplying more teachers. This increased the number of educated people in the country. Furthermore, he set up rules that were brought from the rules of Ming (24). Educated population with new rules brought order to Taiwanese society.

II.1.4 Controversies
            Supporters of Taiwan independence have mixed feelings about Zheng Chenggong, partly because KMT frequently compared Zheng Chenggong with their leader, Chiang Kai Shek, and Zheng brought Han Chinese rule in Taiwan. (25)
            Also, there are several facts that Zheng Chenggong is criticized for.
            First, his mother was a Japanese whose family was in a warrior class. This maternal linkage to Japan was later used by Japanese to justify their occupation in Taiwan. (26)
            Second, Zheng continued the taxation system of Dutch East India Company (27). In fact, many people supported Zheng Chenggong partly because Dutch people taxed them too heavily. They wanted Zheng to change the taxation system. However, to continue the war with Qing, Zheng had to levy tax on people as much as possible, and Zheng did not make efforts to reform the taxation system of Dutch very much.
            Third, he made a harsh position to aborigines. When Dutch East India Company was ruling Taiwan, it used the power of aborigines to limit the power of Han Chinese. This means aborigines were considered to be allies of Dutch people. However, after Zheng conquered Taiwan, he viewed aborigines not as his allies. This led to impose a new tax on aborigines although the tax for Han Chinese somehow decreased (28). As a result, there were a few revolts against Zheng by aborigines. For aborigines Zheng was not a liberator, but a harsh dictatorial ruler.

II.2 Mona Rudao

II.2.1 Biography
            In 1882, Mona Rudao was born as the first son of Rudao Bai, the chief of the Mahebo Community of the Atayal tribe. Mona Rudao was one of the six aborigines who got secondary education under Japanese. He succeeded his father as a chief and later became one of the most influential chiefs in the area of Wushe. Mona Rudao is famous for leading the revolt of Wushe in 1930 (29). The revolt of Wushe is one of the biggest struggles against Japanese rule over Taiwan, and it killed 139 people who gathered in Wushe primary school (30). Mona Rudao committed suicide by shooting himself with pistol during the revolt not to be caught by Japanese alive. His remains were later found at forest (31).

II.2.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Mona Rudao
            Mona Rudao has been illustrated in Taiwanese popular culture, entering books, manga (31a) and film. For example, in 2003, a Taiwanese drama about Wushe incident was on air. The story was based on Deng Xiang Yang¡¯s novel, Feng Zhong Fei Ying, which means 'red sakura in the middle of wind'. The drama drew native Taiwanese's struggle against Japanese rule to be heroic (32).
            Taiwan, written by Zhou Wan Yao includes some sentences that justify Mona Rudao¡¯s Wushe incident and reveal Japanese¡¯s unfairness.
            The Korean translation of the original text states :
            The English translation is : "Mona Rudao requested the police several times to treat the native Taiwanese fairly, but Japanese did not respond and postponed the work."
            The Korean translation of the original text further states :
            The English translation is : "Mona Rudao decided to use people's complaints about hard labor to rebel. Other villages also followed and joined in his rebellion."
            The Korean translation of the original text states : (35)
            The English translation is : "The rumor that Japanese used poisonous gas, which is internationally banned, to suppress native Taiwanese was widespread."
            These sentences justify Mona Rudao¡¯s rebellion and show Japanese¡¯s cruel and harsh treatment on native Taiwanese. The first sentence states that Mona Rudao by himself actually requested Japanese police for better treatment to native Taiwanese, which was denied. The second sentence gives the reason why others united under Mona Rudao¡¯s leadership, and the third points out the image of Japanese people at the time. These sentences illustrate Mona Rudao was a leader who fought with complaining Taiwanese against unfair Japanese colonial rule.

II.2.3 The Reasons Why Taiwanese People Heroize Mona Rudao
            Japanese colonial powers wanted to get absolute control over people living in mountainous areas in Taiwan. The method Japanese came up with was to take the Taiwanese camphor trade, which had become internationally influential, and burgeon Hinoki timber business. However, this directly brought up conflicts with the tribe, Atayal, which tried to preserve the mountain. Japanese didn¡¯t care much about meaning of nature to Atayal people, and established schools both to inculcate Japanese value to Taiwanese and to educate future Taiwanese leaders to rule the region (36). Japanese colonialists tried to culturally assimilate Taiwanese people by soft policies. However, the revolt of Wushe showed the colonialists that Taiwanese people would resist to Japanese rule. The Japanese government realized how stubborn and fierce these Taiwanese protesters are and decided to change their policies. (37)
            Also, Mona Rudao showed Japanese rulers that Taiwanese can fight for their rights. Japanese exploited Taiwanese labor without reasonable compensation. Taiwanese in Wushe province were often recruited to work in the construction site. At the time Taiwanese were not very used to getting wages from foreigners, and Japanese used this as a chance to treat them unfairly. Mona Rudao was a leader who heard these complaints and accumulated people to resist. (38)

II.2.4 Controversies
            The Korea translation of the original text from Taiwan states :
            The English translation is : "There were many women and children killed in Wushe incident. There were even some cases that the whole families died, although it had been considered to be a virtue not to kill women and children"
            The sentences from Taiwanese history book point out that the victims of Wushe incident include unarmed women and children from both sides. The revolt of Wushe was apparently the struggle of Taiwanese against Japanese. However, the revolt was not a fight but a slaughter of people who gathered in Wuche primary school for a certain ceremony. The historian sees that it was unnecessary for Mona Rudao to kill those unarmed people in the school.

III. National Villains of Taiwan

III.1 Gu Xianrong

III.1.1 Biography
            Gu Xianrong was born in Lugang in 1866. He was a merchant who accumulated wealth during Japanese colonial era in Taiwan. In 1895 China ceded Taiwan to Japan, thus legitimizing the Japanese administration of the island. However, Taiwanese resisted, and it took 5 months for Japan to get control over Taiwan (40). When Japanese force conquered Keelung, the Taiwanese president, Tang Jingsong, abandoned Taiwan and fled to mainland China. At this point, Gu Xianrong and other merchants contact Japanese officials and helped Japanese to effectively conquer and govern the country (41). He cooperated with Japanese government in Taiwan to establish Taiwanese Public Company, , and got received medal from Japan for his contribution to Taiwanese society. He had some famous speeches about Taiwanese economic development. He died in Japan in 1937 (42).

III.1.2 How Taiwanese People Perceive Gu Xianrong Villainous
            The historian condemns those who cooperated with Japan and points out Gu Xianrong to be a good example of those who were in Japanese side.
            The Korean translation of the original text states :
            The English translation is : "It is the most fundamental part of the ethnic spirit to resist to foreign invasion¡¦ In contrast, if a society evaluates favorably those who opened the door and welcomed enemies, its people would surrender and give up their future when they face obstacles. On June 3rd, when Japanese troops conquered Keelung, Tang Jingsong (43a) ran away. Gu Xianrong negotiated with Japanese and told them that Taiwanese are willing to accept Japanese rule. Gu voluntarily became the informant."
            The sentence severely criticizes Gu Xianrong for abandoning his 'ethnic spirit' and not resisting to Japanese. It also states that if the society evaluates people like Gu Xianrong positively, it would not overcome any obstacle in the future. Considering that this sentence is almost the only sentence that strongly presents the historian¡¯s opinion, we can learn how villainous Gu Xianrong's image is in Taiwan.
            Chinese Wikipedia also describes Gu Xianrong very negatively in a few sentences. The original text states :
            The translation is : "During the Japanese colonial era, from Erlin incident (44a) to Taiwan Yihui Shizhi movement (44b), Gu Xianrong took Japanese's side and represented Japanese position. He supported Japanese ruler to oppress () Taiwanese; thus, it is not strange that most people consider him to be sly ()."
            The criticism toward Gu Xianrong is very strong in the text. It uses a very strong word ¡®oppress¡¯ when it says that Gu Xianrong oppressed Taiwanese. It gives specific names of movement and incident during which Taiwanese people fought to regain their rights in their country, and points that Gu Xianrong had always been with Japanese colonial ruler. In addition, it mentions with determination that 'most' people would consider him to be sly.
            The original text states :
            The translation is : " On March 3rd 2008, Wang Benhu publicly criticized that 'Gu family is the biggest opportunist in Tawian', especially Gu Xianrong."
            The text severely criticizes Gu family as a whole by using the phrase 'the biggest opportunist'. Although people usually don't use 'big' as an adjective to modify a person, the sentence emphasizes the villainous act of Gu family by putting 'the biggest' before 'opportunist'. Furthermore, the writer points out Gu Xianrong specifically as the one who should get the most criticism. This clearly illustrates how villainous Gu Xianrong is recognized in Taiwan.

III.1.3 Why many Taiwanese People Regard Gu Xianrong as a Villain
            Although there were many Taiwanese who worked for Taiwanese independence during the Japanese colonial era, not every Taiwanese was cooperative. There were a number of people who voluntarily helped Japanese force to govern the country. Those people had the slogan 'We serve the Emperor of Japan', and opened the door of Taipei city, the current capital city of Taiwan, to Japanese troops without any resistance (46). The best example for this was Gu Xianrong. During the time when Taiwan did not have its representative, because Tang Jingsong fled away, Gu Xianrong voluntarily negotiate with Japanese officials. He told Japanese officials that Taiwanese people are willing to accept Japanese government in their land (47). There were many other people who actively favored Japanese rule such as Lee Chunsheng, but Gu Xianrong is the most well known 'betrayer', who get the most criticism from Taiwanese people (48).
            Some merchants made a large amount of profit during the Japanese colonial era by closely working with Japanese government. They were supporting Japanese government both financially and mentally (49). Gu Xianrong, as a merchant of the time, also earned a lot of money. He also worked with Japanese government in Taiwan to oppress the efforts of Taiwanese to establish the congress by Taiwanese people themselves (50).
            Finally, Gu Xianrong actively praised the Japanese rule in Taiwan for its accomplishments in local economic development. He made several famous speeches about this and tried to persuade Taiwanese people to appreciate Japanese government (51).

III.1.4 Controversies
            In fact, there is not much controversy over the fact that Gu Xianrong cooperated with Japanese colonial government in Taiwan. However, Gu Xianrong was not the only one who supported Japan. There were many other people who followed Gu, since there was no resistance against Japanese troops when they came into Taipei (52). Furthermore, Gu Xianrong was the one who negotiated with Japan when Taiwan was lacking in practical government. Although most Taiwanese do not think in this way, some know that he does not deserve this much criticism to him alone. (53)

IV. People Who Qualify for Both Heroes and Villains

IV.1 Chiang Kai Shek

IV.1.1 Biography
            Chiang Kai Shek is a military and political leader of 20th century China. He was born in Xikou in an upper class family in 1887. He began his military education in Baoding Military Academy in 1906, and took part in the revolutionary movement to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and set up a Chinese republic with Sun Yat-sen. In 1916, Chiang became the leader of Chinese Revolutionary Party, and in 1917, Chiang joined Sun Yat-sen in Guangzhou. In 1924, Sun sent Chiang to Moscow to study the Soviet political and military system. In Moscow, Chiang met Trotsky and other Soviet leaders, but he learned that Soviet way was not suitable for China. (66)
            In 1925, Sun Yat-sen died, and Chiang succeeded him. Chiang launched a military campaign, called the Northern Expedition, to unify the country under KMT. However, foreign imperialism from 1928 to 1937 and the Communist Party of China which was led by Mao Zedong hampered his goal (67). In 1937, Chiang made temporary alliance with Mao () and fought against colonial power (68). After the World War II, in 1946, Chiang broke up the alliance with the Communist Party of China, and began the civil war. However, Chiang faced a huge defeat in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan. Chiang continued the martial law in Taiwan and had absolute power over Taiwanese people. 26 years after Chiang fled to Taiwan, he died in Taipei at the age of 87 in 1975. (69)

IV.1.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Kai Shek
            (Fast Reading Taiwanese History), in some sentences, describes Chiang Kai Shek as a national hero.
            The original text states :
            The translation is : "During 1950s, after two four-year economic plans, the amount of production could meet domestic demand, and finally made surplus. Market expanded, and economic development was accelerated. During 1960s, production was focused on export."
            The text has the tone that economic status improved very quickly during 1950s and 1960s. It also implies that the role of the government was not small since it mentions 'four year economic plans'. It shows its strongly positive review on Taiwanese economy during 1950s by using the word 'accelerate', which means economic development was done in faster pace as the time passed.
            Chinese Wikipedia also has some sentences that praise Chiang¡¯s contribution in Taiwan.
            The original text states :
            The translation is: "On April 28th 1952, R.O.C made a contract with Japan, called Zhong Ri contract (), and on December 2nd, made a contract with America to guarantee the safety of Taiwan. Then, the government made some reformation in several fields in society. It made Taiwanese rules, did land reform... established the system of local self-government... improved public education¡¦ constructed facilities for economic development¡¦ and expanded social welfare system."
            The text lists some efforts Chiang Kai Shek and the government made to develop the country. The contribution of Chiang is shown very positively, ranging from land reform to social welfare system. The text does not critically analyze the effects or problems of such policies, but just praised them as Chiang¡¯s accomplishments.
            Memorial hall for Chiang Kai Shek is built in the middle of Taipei City. It is visited by tourists from around the world. In the memorial hall, there are displays of Chiang Kai Shek¡¯s casual life and even the car Chiang used to ride.
            Government website has a very positive view on Chiang Kai Shek
            The introduction of Chiang Kai Shek states : "From 1953 on, Chiang launched five successive four-year economic development plans, thereby laying a solid foundation for the rapid economic growth of Taiwan." (72)
            The text directly praises the four-year economic development plans launched by Chiang Kai Shek. It seems reasonable to think that Taiwanese people have an agreement on the success of Chiang¡¯s economic policies.

IV.1.3 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Kai Shek
            Chiang made the confrontation with Chinese Communist Party to get support from non-communist countries. Especially, he maintained a good relationship with America, from which ROC got financial support (73).
            Financial aid from America also helped Taiwanese economy to bloom. It constituted more than 30% of domestic investment from 1951 to 1962 (74). With financial basis, Taiwan could develop rapidly which transformed it from a recipient of U.S aid to an aid donor and major foreign investor after late 1960s.
            There were several additional reasons of Taiwan¡¯s rapid economic development. First, Chiang brought many well-educated, wealthy Chinese to settle on the island, whose money was invested to the market (75). Second, land reform done by Chiang adopted the 37.5% farm rental reduction, which enabled the tenant farmers to use public land on easy payment terms (76). Third, Chiang launched five successive four-year economic development plans, which turned out to be very successful. These efforts of Chiang successfully enabled export-led growth, and Taiwan could move from cheap, labor-intensive manufactures into an expansion of heavy industry and infrastructure in the 1970s (77).
            Politically, Chiang implemented local self-government by holding local elections and letting local government to rule its region by itself. County magistrates, city mayors, county and city councilmen were elected by Taiwanese people. (78)

IV.1.4 How Taiwanese People Perceive Chiang Kai Shek Villainous
            Chinese Wikipedia shows some negative evaluation of Chiang Kai Shek as well. The original text states :
            The translation is : "Chiang Kai Shek abolished freedom of press, oppressed intellectuals, and in 1960 accused the paper 'Freedom China' unjustly. He also prohibited any organization that argues against the party. This became the inerasable source of criticism toward Chiang Kai Shek."
            The text uses very strong words such as block () or oppress () to describe Chiang's strong position against freedom of press and intellectuals. It also says that the government falsely charged the paper called 'Freedom China', and banned every movement that might criticize the government. These descriptions of Chiang illustrate his dictatorial aspects, and the writer concludes that these are 'inerasable' reasons that Chiang has been criticized. The expression and tone in the text draws Chiang Kai Shek as the person who deserves blame.
            Also, from the interviews in the documentary Tug of War, we can see that there are still people who remember how cruel and inhumane Chiang Kai Shek was in some incidents such as 2-28 massacre. In addition, people who fought for democracy in Taiwan remember how oppressive Chiang's government was to democratic movements and his dictatorial policies (80).

IV.1.5 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Regard Chiang Kai Shek as a Villain
            Despite Chiang Kai Shek's contribution to Taiwanese development, his oppression on Taiwanese has been condemned by both Taiwanese and people in rest of the world. Chiang Kai Shek maintained his complete control over people by implementing the martial law for more than 30 years.
            Even before he retreated to Taiwan, Taiwanese were suffered from Chiang Kai Shek's cruel and merciless policies. For example, in 1947, a soldier beat an old woman who was selling cigarettes, only because she didn't have license. The next day, Taiwanese protestors rose up, and soldiers suppressed the demonstrators by shooting them. This incident is called 2-28 massacre. Chiang Kai Shek sent more troops from mainland China, and indiscriminately punished people who were involved in the protest. Soldiers threatened people and even broke into houses. It is estimated that around 20 thousand Taiwanese were killed (81). Another example is an incident called 'white terror'. The secret police overruled people and kidnapped thousands. Suspected protestors were tortured, imprisoned and even killed secretly (82). Media was thoroughly regulated by the government.
            Chiang Kai Shek strictly oppressed democratic movement. Only in 1964, people were first allowed to criticize the government openly, though in a very limited way (83).

IV.2 Chiang Jing Guo

IV.2.1 Biography
            Chiang Jing Guo was a Kuomintang (KMT) politician and leader. His father was Chiang Kai Shek, who was very strict about his sons' education. From the very early age, Chiang Jing Guo was required to study hard and be prepared for succeeding his father. In 1925, Chiang Jing Guo was sent to Moscow to study at a communist school, partly because Chiang Kai Shek needed Soviet support when his hold over KMT was not guaranteed. In the Soviet Union, Chiang Jing Guo met a native Belarusian, Faina lpat'evna Vakhreva, and they married in 1935. She was later known as Chiang Fang-liang. After 12 years of living in the Soviet Union, Chiang Jing Guo came back to China. After the Nationalists lost control of the mainland China, he followed his father to Taiwan (84). In 1950, Chiang Jing Guo was appointed of the secret police, which he remained until 1965. His father later appointed him of the ROC Defense Minister from 1965 to 1969, and the nation's Vice Premier from 1969 to 1972. He succeeded his father to serve as the Premier of the Republic of China from 1972 to 1978, and in 1978, he got elected as Taiwan's president. He was reelected to another term in 1984 and remained president until his death. (85)

IV.2.2 How Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Jing Guo
            Chinese Wikipedia has some sentences that view Chiang Jing Guo very positively.
            The original text states :
            The translation is : "When Chiang Jing Guo held the power, Taiwanese economy developed rapidly. GDP per capita exceeded US $ 6,000, and Taiwan became one of "four dragons in Asia" (86a). In 1974, Chiang Jing Guo brought up with the new way of economic development. Fei Hua from administration office invited Pan Wen Yuan (an alumnus of Fei Hua in Jiao Tong university) and the head of telegraphic communication department (a graduate of Jiao Tong university) to discuss about the future of Taiwanese economy: electronics."
            The text clarifies that 'when Chiang Jing Guo held the power', economy development rapidly. This ascribes the development of Taiwan to Chiang's policies. Furthermore, it points out that Chiang had a clear vision of the future and prepared for the future market of electronics thoroughly from 1970s.
            (Fast Reading Taiwanese History) also shows some heroic aspects of Chiang Jing Guo
            The original text states :
            The translation is : "On December 1st, the government announced that, from the first day of the next year, prohibition of publication would be abolished, and it would expand its openness (). Before Chiang Ching Guo came to power, Chiang family had closed the country for forty years, and it was very hard to open a window ()."
            The text includes a metaphor about closeness and openness of the country. It emphasizes Chiang Jing Guo¡¯s efforts to improve democratic values such as free publication by describing it as an act of ¡®opening the window¡¯. This illustrates that Taiwanese view Chiang's contribution to Taiwanese democracy positively.
            Taiwanese government official website also has a very positive evaluation on Chiang Jing Guo.
            The original text states : "A series of major political innovations followed, including the opening of new newspaper registrations and granting permission to organize new political parties, thereby paving the way for Taiwan's current political democracy."
            The text praises Chiang Jing Guo's contribution to Taiwan's political democracy. It describes him as a person with 'political innovation' that improved Taiwanese people's civil rights. It also gives specific examples such as permission to organize new political parties to emphasize that Chiang made significant changes in Taiwanese politics.
            In addition, Chiang Ching Kuo memorial song was written right after his death (88).

IV.2.3 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Heroize Chiang Jing Guo
            At the early phase, Chiang Jing Guo followed his father¡¯s harsh stance against democratic movement and opponents. However, the policies were gradually relieved, and finally in 1987, he ended the martial law which had continued for more than 30 years (89). Taiwanese people were then allowed to visit the Mainland China, hold meetings, and publish papers. Opposition political parties were also established, and the Democratic Progressive Party was first allowed to have its official candidates in elections. In addition, Chiang Jing Guo put some efforts to recruit more Taiwan-born citizens in governmental institutions. He picked Lee Teng-hui, the native Taiwanese, as the vice president of the Republic of China (90).
            Economically, Chiang Jing Guo implemented 'Fourteen Major Construction Projects', the 'Ten Major Construction Projects' and the 'Twelve New Development Projects', which turned out to be successful. His effective economic policies accelerated the process of economic modernization of Taiwan, which gave Taiwan a 13 % growth rate once (91). The exportation grew from 20 billion US dollars in 1980 to more than 60 billion dollars in the end of 1980s, and in addition, the educated population greatly increased during his term. (92)

IV.2.4 How Taiwanese People Perceive Chiang Jing Guo Villainous
            (Fast Reading Taiwanese History) has some sentences that assume Chiang and the government's villainous acts.
            The original text states :
            The translation is : "After every person was informed of the announcement in the newspaper, everyone had a strong feeling about the Taiwan government¡¯s wrong way of thinking."
            The sentence is talking about the announcement the government made, which triggered a strong feeling of Taiwanese people. The writer not only uses the word 'the strong feeling' but also assumes that there exists 'the government's wrong way of thinking'. In both parts, the government is considered to be problematic.
            Chinese Wikipedia also describes some villainous aspects of Chiang Jing Guo.
            The original text states :
            The translation is : "On December 16th 1978, the United States announced that it will stop any diplomatic relationship with R.O.C. This incident triggered strong reaction. When Ching Jing Guo was informed of the announcement, he made a temporary article in the Constitution that he prohibited any election campaign."
            The text shows a very extreme case of power abuse done by Chiang Jing Guo. These sentences imply that by banning any election campaign, Chiang Jing Guo showed his dictatorial aspect.

IV.2.5 The Reasons why Taiwanese People Regard Chiang Jing Guo as a Villain
            Chiang Jing Guo, during 1970s and early 1980s, strictly regulated democratic movements and opponents. The best example is Kaosiung Incident in 1979. Kaosiung incident was the result of pro-democracy demonstrations that occurred in Kaosiung. The demonstration was led by the opposition politicians, commemorating the Human Rights Day to promote democracy in Taiwan. However, the government imprisoned and punished those who were involved in the protest (95). Political demonstrators clashed ruthlessly by troops sent by KMT. The leader of the demonstration Lin Yi-hsiung was arrested and beaten severely by KMT police. Criticism rose, and Lin¡¯s mother contacted the Amnesty International to appeal this. However, she was murdered, and the government responded that the murder is not related to KMT (96).

V. Conclusion
            From the research on five figures, two national heroes, one villain and two who qualify for both heroes and villains, there seems to be some standards that make a figure heroic or villainous.
            National heroes are often those who fought against foreign invaders. Zheng Chenggong and Mona Rudao are good examples for this. Zheng Chenggong conquered Dutch East India Company in Taiwan and established the country ruled by Han Chinese. Taiwanese people celebrated his arrival in Taiwan and now highly praise his achievement. Mona Rudao, though unsuccessful, resisted to Japanese colonial rule. Regardless of the result, Taiwanese people evaluate the attempt itself very positively. Furthermore, contribution to economic development is also an important factor that makes a person hero. For example, Zheng Chenggong is praised for his successful agricultural policies, and Chiang family are considered to be great leaders of Taiwanese economic development, nevertheless they had done many villainous acts politically.
            On the other hand, national villains are often those who cooperated with foreign power. In contrast to Zheng Chenggong and Mona Rudao, Gu Xianrong helped Japanese colonial government to rule Taiwanese. As a result, even his family is now condemned for this opportunistic act. He is considered to be a person who betrayed the country for his own sake.
            No one can be an absolute hero or villain. However, by investigating local people's perception of certain figures, I think we can expand our understanding of their culture and way of thinking.


(1)      "Hero" from
(2)      "Villain" from
(3)      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from English Wikipedia
(4)      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from Chinese Wikipedia
(5)      UDN
(6)      Ibid

(7)      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from Chinese Wikipedia
(8)      Davison 2003, pg.17
(9)      Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall, from Cultural China
(10)      Fast Reading Taiwanese History 2003, pg.26
(10a)      The organization of armed sea traders ()- the private organization which did sea trade, headed by Zheng Chenggong
(11)      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from English Wikipedia
(13)      Taiwan 2003, pg.66
(14)      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from Chinese Wikipedia
(15)      Article : Kingdom of Tungning, from English Wikipedia
(16)      Big 5 Huaxia
(17)      Ibid
(18)      Ibid
(19)      Davison 2003, pg.17
(21)      Taiwan 2003, pg.77
(22)      Taiwan 2003, pg.76
(23)      Article : Demographics_of_Taiwan, from English Wikipedia
(26)      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from Chinese Wikipedia
(27)      Brown 2004, pg.41
(28)      Ibid
(29)      Article : Mona Rudao, from Chinese Wikipedia
(30)      Taiwan 2003, pg.140
(31)      Article : Mona Rudao, from English Wikipedia
(31a)      Manga- a type of comic book
(32)      Article : Feng Zhong Fei Ying, from Chinese Wikipedia
(33)      Taiwan 2003, pg.139
(34)      Ibid
(35)      Taiwan 2003, pg.140
(36)      Article : Mona Rudao, from Chinese Wikipedia
(37)      Taiwan US Net : History
(38)      Taiwan 2003, pg.134-135
(39)      Taiwan 2003, pg.140
(40)      Article : Koo Hsien-jung, from Chinese Wikipedia
(41)      Ibid
(42)      Ibid
(43)      Taiwan 2003, pg.121-122
(43a)      Tang Jingsong - The president of the country 'Taiwan Democratic Country' ()
(44a)      Erlin incident-A conflict between Japanese police and Taiwanese activists who fought for better treatment to Taiwanese
(44b)      Taiwan Yihui Shizhi movement- A movement to establish Taiwanese parliament
(45)      Ibid
(46)      Taiwan 2003, pg.119
(47)      Taiwan 2003, pg.122
(48)      Ibid
(49)      Article : Koo Hsien-jung, from Chinese Wikipedia
(50)      Ibid
(51)      Ibid
(52)      Taiwan 2003, pg.122
(53)      Ibid
(66)      Article : Chiang Kai-shek, from English Wikipedia
(67)      Ibid
(68)      Article : Chiang Kai-shek, from Chinese Wikipedia
(69)      Ibid
(70)      Fast Reading Taiwanese History 2003, pg.117
(72)      Website of the President of Taiwan
(73)      Article : Economy of Taiwan (History), from English Wikipedia
(74)      Ibid
(75)      Ibid
(76)      Website of the President of Taiwan
(77)      Ibid
(78)      Ibid
(79)      Article : Chiang Kai-shek, from Chinese Wikipedia
(80)      Vecchione 1998
(81)      Article : White Terror (Taiwan), from Chinese Wikipedia
(82)      Article : White Terror (Taiwan), from English Wikipedia
(83)      Vecchione 1998
(84)      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo, from English Wikipedia
(85)      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo, from Chinese Wikipedia
(86a)      Four dragons in Asia - South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which went through rapid economic development
(87)      Fast Reading Taiwanese History 2003, pg.140
(88)      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo Memorial Song, from English Wikipedia
(89)      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo, from Chinese Wikipedia
(90)      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo, from English Wikipedia
(91)      Ibid.
(92)      Economic Development R.O.C 2007
(93)      Fast Reading Taiwanese History 2002, pg.136
(95)      Article : Kaohsiung Incident, from Chinese Wikipedia
(96)      Article : Kaohsiung Incident, from English Wikipedia

X. Bibliography

Note : websites quoted below were visited in September 2008.
1.      (Taiwan). Korean translation by Son Joon Shik, Shin Mee Jung, Seoul: Singu Wenhua publishing, 2003.
2.      (Fast Reading Taiwanese History). Taipei: Yu Shan publishing, 2002.
3.      Council for Economic Planning and Development, Economic Development R.O.C. Taiwan: Executive Yuan, 2007.
4.      Judith Vecchione. Tug of War: The Story of Taiwan. WGBH Boston Video, 1998.
5.      Melissa J. Brown. Is Taiwan Chinese?. University of California Press, 2004.
6.      Gary Marvin Davison. A Short History of Taiwan. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003
7.      Hero from
8.      Villain, from
9.      Chiang Kai Shek, from Website of the President of Taiwan
10.      Article : Zheng Chenggong, from English Wikipedia. < >
11.      Article : Zheng, Chenggong, from Chinese Wikipedia. < >
12.      UDN < >
13.      Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall, from Cultural China <>
14.      Article : Kingdom of Tungning, from English Wikipedia. < >
15.      Big 5 Huaxia < >
16.      Article : Demographics of Taiwan, from English Wikipedia. <>
17.      Article : Mona Rudao, from Chinese Wikipedia. <>
18.      Article : Mona Rudao, from English Wikipedia. <>
19.      Article : Feng Zhong Fei Ying (Wushe Incident Drama), from Chinese Wikipedia. <>
20.      Taiwan US Net : History, <>
21.      Article : Koo, Hsien-jung, from Chinese Wikipedia. <>
22.      Article : Number Four Nuclear Power Facility , from English Wikipedia.
23.      "Taiwan Political and Economic Situation", from National Policy Foundation
24.      Article : Chiang Kai Shek, from English Wikipedia.
25.      Article : Chiang Kai-shek, from Chinese Wikipedia
26.      Article : Economy of Taiwan, from English Wikipedia.
27.      Article : White Terror (Taiwan) , from Chinese Wikipedia.
28.      Article : White Terror (Taiwan), from English Wikipedia.
29.      Article : Chiang Ching Kuo, from English Wikipedia.
30.      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo, from Chinese Wikipedia.
31.      Article : Chiang Ching-kuo Memorial Song, from English Wikipedia.
32.      Article : Kaohsiung Incident, from Chinese Wikipedia.
33.      Article : Kaohsiung Incident, from English Wikipedia.

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