Dr. K. C. Wu's Views on the Police State
and General Chiang Ching-kuo
[These extracts, reproduced with Dr. Wu's permission, are from letters addressed by Dr. Wu to the National Assembly at Taipei, and to Generalissimo Chiang.]
In an open letter to the National Assembly dated February 27, 1954, Dr. Wu appealed for consideration and debate upon six cardinal points. The first concerned the dangers of oneparty rule.
But the operations of the Kuomintang itself are financed, not by contributions from Party members, but by the Government treasury, or, in other words, by the citizens of China. This practice is not to be found in any modern nation save the Communist and totalitarian states. Speaking from inside the Kuomintang, it is also modeled after the so-called "centralized democratic system" of the Communists. That it is "democratic" is totally false. That it is "centralized" is sadly true. In order to put genuine democracy into practice, we must have at least two major political parties . . . The present methods adopted by the Kuomintang in government are entirely devoted to the purpose of perpetuating its power. It is directly contrary to the fundamental principles of modem democratic government.
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Dr. Wu's second point concerned the d ' evastating influence of Chiang Ching-kuo's agents upon Army morale.
The armed forces of a nation should belong to the nation so that they will not be made loyal to only one party or to only one person, thus creating forces for feudalism and possible civil strife ... But inside the armed forces of our country now, there is not only Kuomintang organization operating in secret, but there is also a Political Department. The so-called Political Department is entirely modeled after the system of political commissars of the Communists. Ever since the establishment of the Political Department promotions in the Armed Services have not been based on the merit of the individual but on his relations with the Political Department. Not to speak of the unjustifiable position of the system itself, the Political Department, through the abuse of power, has almost totally wrecked the morale of the troops . . . I have talked with many an intelligent man in the services . . . Their reaction toward the activities of the Political Department has reached such a point that they cannot be worse. Some even went so far as to say "If fight we must one day, we shall have to kill the agents of the Political Department first." If we want to employ these troops just for the purpose of giving reviews and parades, it may be feasible. If we want to use them to fight for the recovery of the mainland, I cannot help shuddering at the thought!
On the activities of the secret police - his third point - the former Governor had this to say:
During my more than three years' administration ... hardly a day passed without some bitter struggle on my part with the secret police. They interfered with free elections. They made numberless illegal arrests. They tortured and they blackmailed . . . the secret police of our country at present, relying on their special backing, have so abused their powers that they have no regard whatever for law. The people are reduced to such a state that they only dare to resent, but not to speak in the open. If this method is used to ensure the positions of some high authorities, it may be understandable. If we desire to secure the
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full-hearted support of the people . . . this is utterly impossible.
Turning to the absence of any guarantee of individual rights, he wrote:
As the secret police are rampant, so Formosa has become virtually a police state. The liberties of the people are almost totally suppressed. While I was Governor of Formosa I did my utmost to inculcate the principles that arrests cannot be made without sufficient evidences of crimes and searches cannot be conducted without due process of law. But as my powers were limited, even now I can hardly tell how many innocent people were, and have been illegally held and molested. Every time when I think of this, I cannot but feel an ache in my heart.
Commenting on the absence of press freedom be noted that "Papers have been ordered to suspend publication and reporters have been put into custody from time to time." As for Thought Control, Dr. Wu observed:
The establishment of the so-called "anti-Communist and Save-the-Nation Youth Corps" is really taken after the Hitler Youth and Communist Youth [organizations]. Whether the organ operates under the Kuomintang or the Government (this has never been clarified) I am even now too stupid to comprehend. When I was Governor it demanded financial support from the Provincial Government and met with my refusal. Since then how the organ has been financed is a matter which needs serious investigation. Ever since the establishment of the Youth Corps, principals and superintendents of schools have been forced to become its officers and the students its members, and persistent pressure has been applied to the principals and superintendents to make adjustments in the teaching staffs of the schools in order to regiment the thoughts of the students all the more. To have such an evil way to guide our youth will no doubt leave harm to our posterity for a long time to come.
Dr. Wu asked the Assembly to publish his "six points" and his
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recommendations concerning them, and notified the Generalissimo that he had done so.
Chiang suppressed the document. An outburst of official propaganda accused Wu of dereliction of duty, corruption in office, and treason. Wu responded in a series of letters to Chiang. The first (March 20) included twelve groups of questions, each group designed to illuminate the issues which he had addressed to the Assembly. For example, the former Govemor asked Chiang:
How many secret police organizations are there in our country? What are the limitations on their powers? Who are in charge of them on the surface? Who is it that really controls them behind the scenes?
Ever since March 1, 1950, the date on which Your Excellency was restored to the Presidency, up till now what is the actual number of people who -have been arrested and put into custody by the secret police?
Are there, or not, secret jails and detention houses in Formosa? Can they be open to inspection and investigation?
Have the secret police, or have they not, interfered with elections in Formosa? Have they or have they not made illegal arrests?
Ever since March 1, 1950, how many newspapers have received orders to suspend publication? And how many newspaper reporters have been arrested? What are the facts pertaining to each case and on what legal grounds were the orders given?
Does the Youth Corps operate as a branch of the Government or as a branch of the Kuomintang?
If it is supposed to operate under the Government, then under what Ministry and why is its organic law not passed by the Legislative Yuan? If it is supposed to operate under the Kuomintang, then why is it that Central News Agency reports that its expenses are budgeted in the National Government?
As for Chiang's attempt to discredit Wu with charges of corruption and dereliction of duty over a long period of years, Wu
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asked why Chiang had made him Mayor of Shanghai (1946-1949) and Governor of Formosa (1949-1953).
Why was I not dismissed? Why must I resign so many times before my resignation was accepted? Why did Your Excellency yourself pay me high praises ... ?
Why did Your Excellency ask one of your most intimate confidants to write to me on November 20th last year, asking me to return to become your Secretary-General?
As late as February 8, 1954, the Generalissimo had sought to persuade Wu to return to Formosa, but on February 7 the former Governor, in exile, had ventured his first public criticism of the regime. He reminded the Generalissimo of these things, and then spoke frankly of his mistrust of Chiang Ching-kuo the heir-apparent. In a letter to Chiang dated March 28 he revealed the heart of the matter.
When I was in Formosa I gave freely my opinions to Your Excellency on many occasions. I shall just narrate two instances here to refresh Your Excellency's memory.
In 1950 ... I chose a leisurely moment of yours to make a serious proposal. I advocated that the Kuomintang should not be supported financially by the Government Treasury, but by contributions from Party members and that ways and means should be found to encourage the growth of an opposition Party so that we might lay a solid foundation for a two-party system in our politics. Your Excellency did neither agree nor disagree. But as events prove later, Your Excellency has assumed exactly the contrary position.
Then in February, 1952 when I wanted to resign in my struggle for the establishment of the rule of law in Formosa, I spoke to Your Excellency these words: "If Your Excellency loves Ching-kuo your son, you must not let him head the secret police. For no matter whether, relying on your backing, he abuses his powers or not, he will become a target of hatred among the people."
At that time, Your Excellency cried repeatedly that you were having a headache and asked me not to speak any more. But
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after that, Your Excellency has put more trust in Ching-kuo. Not only has he been permitted to control the secret police and the armed forces, but be has also been given control of the Kuomintang and the Youth Corps. Because of such outspoken criticisms, evidently, an attempt on my life was made on April 5, 1953, a few days before my resignation as Governor of Formosa was finally accepted.
After citing instances in which other important critics suffered, Dr. Wu concluded:
I beg to be permitted to draw the following conclusions: (1) For those who make outspoken criticism in Your Excellency's presence, there is a possibility that attempts may be made on their lives; (2.) For those who speak privately against Your Excellency, there is a possibility that their careers may be ruined and their reputations damaged; (3) For those who spoke critically of the Government and Your Excellency prior to their coming into Formosa even though they may have remained dis creetly silent ever after, there is a possibility that they may be arrested by the secret police and held incommunicado without trial . . .
On April 3, 1954, he sent on a letter to Taipei which probably never reached the irascible Generalissimo's eye. He took note of Chiang's public reputation, and then said:
Your Excellency has been known as a great and determined Anti-Communist, despite all reverses and disasters ...
But the trouble with Your Excellency is your own selfishness. When we were on the mainland you had regard only for your personal political power. In Formosa, after the situation over there has become more secure, Your Excellency has become obsessed again with the idea of transmitting the power to your son. Your love of power is greater than your love of the country. And your love for your son is more than your love for the people. Because of this, Your Excellency has pursued the absolutely wrong course of seeking to control the Kuomintang by
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yourself, control the Government by the Kuomintang, control the Army by the Political Department, and control the people by the secret police. Your Excellency made that mistake once before, and the mainland was lost. How can Your Excellency make the same mistake again to deprive us of the chance of ever recovering the mainland, and, when it comes to worst, of even defending Formosa effectively? . . .
The situation of our country is, indeed, exceedingly grave. While dark clouds threaten from the outside, there is serious dissension and eruption inside. In order to avert this impending crisis, it is imperative that Your Excellency should do something spectacular . . . [by way of genuine reform].
In recent years another great obstacle to any political progress in our nation is Chiang Ching-kuo, Your Excellency's son. I shall not speak any more about what he stands for and what he does, and the bad reactions of the people . . . It is an undisguisable fact that Ching-kuo was trained in Soviet Russia for some fourteen years, and has no understanding whatever of the modem democratic government. In my humble opinion, it is necessary that Your Excellency, in order to reveal your absolute unselfishness, should not allow Ching-kuo to remain any longer in Formosa at this juncture, either staying in the limelight or behind the scenes ... He should not return to Formosa until after the recovery of the mainland . . . Your Excellency may [then] become cleared of any charge . . . that you entertain any ulterior motive of setting up a dynasty.