Saturday, October 21, 2006

Formosans would vote for U.S. rule

Michael links to this fascinating Time article about Taiwan (then known in the west as Formosa) from June 10, 1946:

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.


Post a Comment

<< Home