Sunday, August 31, 2008

Book Review: Those who helped break the oppressors’ back

For many who, for one reason or another, choose to make it their home, Taiwan is part opportunity and part love affair. From its weather, natural beauty, history, culture, food and wonderful people to the cross-strait reflection of what it chose not to be, Taiwan is a muse that over the years has transformed many a transitory visitor into a permanent friend fully committed to protecting it from the many ills — environmental, political — that threaten its existence. While the principal threat to Taiwan today is China’s designs upon it and Beijing’s political isolation of Taiwan on the international scene, not so long ago enemy No. 1 was at home, under the form of the Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) regimes, both supported financially, politically and militarily by the US in their repression of Taiwanese as part of Washington’s crusade against communism.

Then as now, many expatriates who came to Taiwan chose not to remain silent and did what they could to help give Taiwanese a voice. A Borrowed Voice: Taiwan human rights through international networks, 1960-1980, which I review in today’s issue of the Taipei Times, is their story. Readers can access the full article, titled "Those who helped break the oppressors' back," by clicking here (Features pages are now available in .pdf for original print format).

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