In recent years there have been so many books published on China and the Chinese that there is a danger of the reading public being surfeited with them. Therefore any writer must have good reasons for attempting to publish a new work on this subject.

And I believe I have good reasons.

In the first place this book is not really about China but about Formosa, which Island was occupied by Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese Nationalists following Japan’s defeat by the Allied Powers in 1945.

As an "occupying Power" after World War II the Chinese have behaved in such a manner as to raise a large number of important questions. If these questions are not correctly solved there is a danger of Formosa becoming a very unhealthy spot for the peace of the Pacific at least.

The facts which lead me to this conclusion are not generally known to the world, to some extent because efforts are being made to hide them. As Industrial Rehabilitation Officer in Formosa for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, I was constantly being made aware of the dangerous condition of Formosa - dangerous both locally and internationally - and since my return from China numerous hearers have confirmed my belief that in the interests of peace, justice and humanity these conditions in Formosa should be much more widely known. My experiences in World War I in France and Germany led me to the conclusion that, in spite of propaganda to the contrary, war would not bring peace to the world, and in UNRRA I saw what I thought was an opportunity to make my own small contribution to that end. It is also with the idea of still working for peace that I am emboldened to write this book.

Except for the greater part of the first chapter, the material for this book is either the result of my own personal experiences or the reports of people whose truthfulness was undoubted. Some reports I have checked personally. There is, however, a danger that my numerous Formosan friends will suffer on account of what I have written and therefore, where I consider that danger exists, I have avoided the use of names. But I do possess the correct names and dates. There is a danger, too, that those whose minds work in terms of labels will incorrectly tab me "Chinaphobe". I have made numerous Chinese friends and have acquaintances for whom I have a high regard as persons. It is the systems in which the Chinese work that are so objectionable and there are many Chinese who have just as strong an abhorrence of their systems as I have. They themselves realise that their nation will not be great till those systems are changed either wholly or in part.

But now, having written the book, I am not sure whether it is not a travel book masquerading as a political one. In any case I hope there is enough of both to interest a wide circle of readers who, I hope still more, will agree with my conclusions.


Allan James Shackleton
Gisborne, New Zealand, 1948

The writer Alan Shackleton in uniform in Formosa, 1947.

Shackleton outside a local hotel during his travels through Formosa.

With Dr. Hao, engineer in charge of the Butanol factory in Kagi (Chiayi), Formosa, with the Lunghwa Pagoda in Shanghai in the background.

This picture was taken at Haito. From left to right: Mr. Tsai (a Formosan), a Formosan UNRRA nurse, Helen Reimer (a Canadian UNRRA nurse), and Shackleton. The photo was taken by Muriel Graham, also a Canadian UNRRA nurse.