To my surprise I was received at this new detention center by the mysterious and rather shabby little clerk who ten days earlier had asked so many repetitious questions, taken note of my answers, and obtained my signature to verify a record of them. He was to be my prosecutor. Now he produced a clean copy, typed up in legal form, and we sat together for another three hours going very meticulously through his record of questions and answers. Once again I was obliged to attach my signature.
Dusk had fallen and supper time was approaching when I was taken in to Room 2 in the prison cell-blocks. There were two beds in the room, a water tap and a toilet but no chairs and no desk. I found a Chinese military officer already there, waiting trial on charges of corruption. I became aware that the room next to ours held several women.
Supper was brought in. We were obliged to place our trays on our beds and to sit on the floor. There was a window over my bed but we were forbidden to close it, and since it was December it soon became very cold. While we were at supper, the warden appeared at the barred window which separated us from the corridor. He was an army lieutenant, fat, crafty looking, and too talkative.
It was 24 December 1964, Christmas Eve. After supper the women in the next room began to sing Christmas carols. This was too much for me. I nearly wept, thinking of my devout mother and my Christian family.
During the next six weeks I awaited formal indictment. I could not receive or write letters until the formal charges had been made, nor could I see members of my family or engage a lawyer in my own defense. My sole diversion was the spectacle of prison-life around me which I was seeing in a new dimension. I learned much concerning the character of the scores of prisons maintained throughout Formosa. Terror of these prisons keeps the Formosan people in subjection. Abstract ideals of democracy and human rights seldom occur to the common man. The rigors of these prisons were far more immediate.
I was being detained in one of the several cells known as patients' rooms intended to be used as a hospital bay. I learned that Lei Chen and Su Tung-chi had both been held in Room 2. The prisoner had to purchase necessary things, toothbrushes, soap, chopsticks, the wash basin, toilet paper, and rice bowls, and if he wished to prepare notes for his trial, he might purchase a pencil and a pad of paper. Our rooms looked into the prison yard, but when certain prisoners were allowed to exercise there, all windows looking into the area had to be closed to prevent any communication. Room by room the prisoners were allowed to walk in the open for ten minutes, four days a week.
Across the yard from our cells were larger barred cells like animal cages. Each held ten to twenty prisoners who were required to sleep on the floor and were subject to sudden unannounced inspections, night or day. Originally this compound was supposed only to hold pretrial prisoners, but now it was a mixed group. Some were under sentence for more than ten years, some for life, and some were awaiting execution. There was no dining room. These prisoners and those serving long sentences were obliged to seat themselves in circles on the ground around big food bowls. When it rained they squeezed themselves into the corridors.
These were working prisoners. Some worked in the kitchens and were obliged to bring food to other prisoners, and others were employed in a laundry that took in the uniforms of low-ranking government personnel, bedding from railway sleeping cars, and the like. Some were employed in a clothes-making factory, producing military uniforms, and other uniforms for minor government employees. Some were engaged in handicrafts. There was a construction team, sent out under guard from time to time to work on public and private projects. The profits from this forced labor were huge, and were shared, not by the prisoners, but by the officers in charge and by the prison staff.
Later, after my release, I met a Chinese who had been a university instructor, had been arrested as a Communist, and had spent thirteen years in this and various other prisons. Conditions as he described them for the period 1949-50 were incredible. Chiang Ching-kno was then cleaning up the island to make it secure for his father's retreat. According to this man in earlier years the big cells were so overcrowded there was no room for all the prisoners to lie down at one time. They were compelled to take turns sleeping. The courts did not bother with trials in political cases then, but simply consigned the victims to detention until one day the sentences were read off at a roll-call, six years, ten years, fifteen years, from which there was no appeal.
For me the most chilling experience was the sight of prisoners condemned to death. It is Chinese tradition that on sentencing, and while still in the courtroom, iron shackles are welded on the prisoners' ankles, and are not removed until the execution. We saw condemned men in the prison yard from time to time, and the sound of clanking shackle-chains outside our window was heartrending. Sometimes men wore these chains for two or three years while awaiting decisions upon appeal. Appeals are automatic, but if the final one is rejected, the wardens come before dawn, the cell-door is opened and the prisoner knows his fate. Execution takes place at once. All prisoners know that if the prison office lights go on before four A.M., someone is about to be taken out to death. The dreadful sound of pounding follows as a hammer is used to break the leg-chains, and this sometimes takes nearly ten minutes. The entire prison awakes and that sound pierces the heart. I saw several men taken away. On one occasion, as a huge Chinese was taken out, we heard him trying to sing, then screaming "Long live Mao Tse-tung!" before he was gagged with a towel, beaten, and dragged away screaming like a pig carried to slaughter. After every execution all the prisoners are subdued, there is an atmosphere of mourning, but if a prisoner betrays his feelings too openly, if he fails to eat, or weeps at the prospect of his own fate, the guards may curse him, shouting, "What? You sympathize with him?"
All of Formosa knows the story of Thomas Liao's sister-in-law who was over seventy years old and suffering from high blood pressure while being held in the cells next to mine. Her son, under sentence of death, was taken out and paraded back and forth in the exercise yard within her sight, four times a week, until an act of clemency released them both, an act of clemency produced by Liao's decision to abandon the Independence Movement in Tokyo to return to Formosa.
So the month of January passed. At the Lunar New Year, February 1965, Hsieh, Wei, and I each received a present from General Ning, a packet of eggs and dried shredded pork. The general was continuing to cultivate us in his effort to win us around to the government's cause. The formal charge was brought against me in February. It was lengthy aud I found myself charged with "an attempt to overthrow the govelument by illegal means." This formality made a change in my prison life. I could now communicate with my faunally, sending and receiving one letter per week, each not exceeding 200 Chinese characters in length. One could not say much in 200 characters, but then there was very little that we were allowed to say in any case. Now, too, members of my family could come to see me for ten minutes once each week on Thursday. We had not been in direct communication for more than four months.
On the night before my mother and wife came to see me, the warden appeared to be very nervous. Too often, he said, unpleasant scenes take place at these first meetings. Sometimes two or three years have passed since the prisoner last saw his family. Women cry and scream. He begged me to control my emotions. I sensed that he feared I might report some incident of bad treatment.
When the family came they were registered at the outer offices, check-slips were brought in, and a guard conducted me to the small meeting room, paneled on one side by heavy glass. I could see my wife and mother but could not touch them. We were to communicate through a speaking-tube arrangement. I knew that in a case such as mine there would be a recording made, in addition, a clerk took notes beside me. We were not alone at the long counters running beneath the glass panel, for other prisoners were also greeting families on this Thursday afternoon.
We had been strictly forbidden to discuss my case. There could be only small talk about health and the children. My mother, nearly seventy at the time, begged me to read the Bible and to pray.
At this first brief meeting she raised the question of engaging lawyers. Since my confession was signed and the government had developed its case against me, there seemed really no need to go to this expense. Nevertheless, she was worried and felt that it would be better. A few weeks later I agreed.
I had already begun to prepare my defense. Clearly it was useless to argue the legality of the government that had imprisoned me, and I decided to base my defense on the ground of "freedom of opinion," pointing out that there had been no attempt on our part to use violence.
My family decided to engage the services of Liang Shu-jung, a Chinese member of the liberal wing of the Nationalist party and a member of the Legislative Yuan elected on the mainland in 1947. He was relatively young, had been trained in Japan, enjoyed a good reputation,and was very ambitious. He had good personal relations with many important figures in the government. My family had no illusions, for Liang had served as the editor Lei Chen's lawyer, and Lei was then in prison serving out a ten-year sentence, principally for having urged the Generalissimo to permit formation of an opposition party that would attract Formosan support to the Nationalist regime.
Liang was surprised and seemed to be pleased with the request that he represent me. On consulting with liberal members of the party and official friends, he was told that from their point of view it was a good sign that a Formosan would ask a Chinese to take on the case. He should by all means take it, for in doing so he would become one more intermediary between the Formosan people and the government. He would of course have to be extremely cautious not to incur the wrath of the Generalissimo who had ordered the prosecution to begin.
In these circumstances a prisoner's defense lawyer is permitted to visit him for consultation, and so when Liang appeared, I was taken out to a small room. The prosecutor himself was present and had with him a recording-machine. Under the circumstances, what could we do or say?
Although I was not so informed, the trial date had been set for late March 1965. In the interim several small changes took place. Staff Officer Wang of the garrison command now began to come in quite often "to be sure that my stay was as comfortable as possible." At the time of my family's first visit I had complained that I had not been able to bathe for more than one month. My conversation and my complaints of course had been recorded. Soon after that the communal bath was reactivated, and we were each allowed one bath per week. Wang began to see my family often, assuring them that I was well and assuring me that they were fine. "The authorities will be very careful," he said, and from his conversations I drew the conclusion that in some quarters there was fear that I might be outspokenly critical of the prison administration when I appeared in court. It was a bit of psychological warfare designed to soothe me.
During this period I was taken before a judge three times for brief preliminary hearings. These meetings were informal and private, with only one recording clerk present; the questions were simple and each session lasted no more than one hour.
Two days before the trial I was notified and my family was asked to supply my best suit. The barber came to tidy up my appearance. For the first time since September 20, 1964 I felt somewhat restored to an outward appearance of respectability. The authorities too seemed to think this was an occasion of great importance. The courtroom itself was repainted by a team of prisoners, and Wang came in several times a day. There was a sense of tension in the camp and he was worried about what might happen. I learned later that the government feared that there might be a student demonstration on the day of my trial or that there might be riots in the city. On 27 March 1965, the morning of the trial, the entire district was heavily patrolled, military units were mobilized nearby, and traffic was cleared from the streets. Thus the whole city was alerted to the importance attached to the event.
A car was sent to bring my mother, my wife, and my brother to the court. They were received with great courtesy and shown around the camp which was on dress parade, as it were, for this occasion. Again and again they were assured that this would be an "open trial."
According to the standards set by the inner core of hard reactionaries around Chiang, we should have been shot out of hand on the night of September 20, 1964. That we were permitted to appear in any court was an overindulgent concession. But the trial was not to be conducted by the traditions of Anglo-Saxon law, but by a Chinese adaptation of the forms of Western legal practice. From one point of view, China had come a long way in the past fifty years. From another point of view such a performance was a travesty of justice.
An "open trial" was a figure of speech. Tickets had been issued to fill the seats, and the spectators were a carefully selected group. The Chamber of Commerce was represented and members of the Legislative Yuan were present. Journalists' organizations sent observers, and student representatives were given seats. Since the United States was so often and so inaccurately accused of promoting the Independence Movement, the American embassy had requested and been given two tickets, but since the embassy apparently wished to dissociate itself from this accusation, only one man came, briefly toured the camp and left before the trial session opened. There were no foreigners present.
All spectators, lawyers, and the three judges were seated; the proceedings began sharply at 9:00 A.M. To my astonishment, everyone present stood up when I entered the room. I remained standing, everyone resumed his seat, and the trial began. It was brief, for the guilty verdict had long since been agreed upon. This was a pro forma legal gesture to satisfy public opinion. I was rather surprised to find that the shabby old prosecutor had stayed behind the scenes, and that a more presentable man had taken his place.
The morning was taken up with the prosecutor's statement. He quoted our manifesto, asserting vigorously that we three had said that recovery of the mainland was impossible. He spoke with fervor, as if this in itself were high treason. Perhaps in their eyes it was. We had severely condemned the government and had used the words "overthrow the government." We had said that we had to obtain our objective by whatever means was needed, even by "sweat and blood." (This, we argued later, was an old Chinese expression, a literary figure of speech not necessarily meaning violence.)
And so on and on, issue by issue, as we had outlined them in our text. The judges leaned forward to ask questions, point by point, and thus before the morning session had ended, somewhere between eighty and 100 spectators had become familiar with our criticisms.
I was returned to my cell, and Hsieh and Wei in turn were brought in for a similar examination and review of the charges.
Arguments on behalf of the defendants began about four o'clock in the afternoon. This time we were all brought into the court at one time. It was the first time we were together since our arrest, and while we looked eagerly at one another, nodded, and stood side by side, we were not permitted to talk. Both my friends looked well.
Our defense took the line that the question was one of freedom of opinion, that patriotism was not merely the shouting of slogans and cheers for the head of state, but that criticism too was a form of patriotism. My lawyer, Liang, was hesitant and timid, merely repeating in perfunctory fashion the arguments I had rehearsed with him. Hsieh's lawyer was both witty and forceful and made the sharper arguments. At one point, he said that the heart of the whole case seemed to be the "crime" of criticizing Chiang Kai-shek, and that under the law this was nothing more than a libel case. At this, some spectators burst into laughter. The prosecutor and the judges looked embarrassed.
Although we felt the audience on the whole was with us, neither we nor our lawyers shouted or made dramatic appeals. We were earnest and firm and made no excuses for our behavior. We made no attempt to act as martyred heroes. We tried to show that we were reasonable men ready to take great risks to alter and improve the Formosan situation if this could be achieved. We were not fanatics.
We learned later that this position had created a favorable impression on many in the handpicked audience, but that the military were unhappy. Indeed some of them were very angry since they had expected us to make the traditional Chinese confessions of culpability and to plead for clemency and forgiveness.
When the defense had completed its arguments and we three had been heard, the judges invited members of our families to say something, if they wished. Perhaps they expected at least to hear the traditional appeals for mercy made on our behalf. My two elder brothers were there, with my mother and my wife, but they all declined to speak. Hsieh's sister and brother likewise preferred to remain silent. We had felt that protest was useless, that the outcome had been decided upon by higher authority, and that the trial was no more than a facade. It was a legal technicality gone through to sustain the appearance of "modern justice" on Formosa.
In contrast, Wei's brother shocked the court by rising to begin an angry denunciation of the whole proceeding, saying that it was illegal, that the government itself was illegal, that martial law was illegal, and that the three of us should not be tried at all. We were led out of the chamber, and the trial came to a close.
By now it was about seven o'clock in the evening and we found that all operations in the camp had been suspended. The prisoners were not fed until 7:30, but I was too keyed up and exhausted to take my supper.
Early the next morning Staff Officer Wang came to me in excitement to say that after the trial one of the reporters present at the trial, probably an American-Chinese recently assigned to Taipei, had gone at once to the garrison command headquarters to ask if I had been tortured. He had noticed my left arm hanging immobile at my side throughout the day's session. Spokesmen for the headquarters hastened publicly to explain the true cause. I had been severely wounded by an American bomb.
On that day every Chinese~language newspaper on the island, without exception, carried the same story of the trial, word for word, saying in part that the three defendants had all admitted guilt in questioning the government policy and the plan to return to China. We had all "repented" in court and we had all "begged for clemency."
My strong-hearted old mother was furious. At the first opportunity she attacked Staff Officer Wang, saying, "Look at this! You are all lying!"
The garrison command dispatched an officer to the editorial rooms of the two English~language papers in Taipei, demanding to know what they were going to print and insisted upon prior censorship. Their stories were brief and, on the whole, accurate, omitting the face~saving story about a "clemency appeal."
It was widely noted that the trial had been conducted with unusual speed, three men tried in one day, and we presumed this had been arranged to minimize publicity and tension. We did not expect delivery of an early sentence, hence we were amazed when within the week we were ordered to prepare ourselves for the final appearance. Such speed suggested that the outcome had been determined well before the trial took place.
On April 2 we were taken into court once more. On entering we again had the opportunity to nod to one another but no more. The entire audience this time numbered no more than ten persons in addition to our families, and included five or six Chinese newsmen.
Again we stood together before the three judges. The presiding judge stood to read the sentences. Wei and I were sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, and Hsieh to ten.
The newsmen openly showed their surprise at the severity of these sentences, shaking their heads and showing sympathy in their faces. Even the talkative prison warden later confided to me that he was amazed. Our families were shocked at this severity.
Later we were led to believe that our failure to beg for clemency was taken for arrogance, that it had originally been planned to sentence us all to five years only, but that higher authority was enraged by our failure to repent.
We immediately initiated a formal appeal. This would be presented in writing. There would be no further hearings or appearances in court. My lawyer and I drafted a text, reflecting the arguments put forward in the courtroom, and the appeal was filed. According to law, the court must respond within sixty days, and thirty days is the usual time, but no answer came to my appeal. July, August, September, and October went by. We thought that perhaps this was a good sign, that there was disagreement at the highest level, and that the highest authority could not or had not made up his mind.
The routine of prison life was somewhat modified and permission was now granted for me to have reading material. The prison rules said that there could be no novels and no newspapers, but these rules were breached for me. My family was allowed to bring in popular fiction magazines, hardly what I wanted, and in time I acquired a complete set of Sherlock Holmes, of Winston Churchill's memoirs of World War II, and three volumes of DeGaulle's Memoirs, a paperback edition in French. International law treatises were admitted both in French and English texts, together with law dictionaries. At last I was permitted to see Newsweek, Time magazine, and Reader's Digest after they had been slowly and carefully censored by political officers attached to the prison. I also had some French grammar and conversation books sent in, and spent a couple of hours every morning reading and practicing conversation. It was a good mental exercise in the solitude of my cell.
In an issue of the English edition of Reader's Digest I found an article concerning Amnesty International, a nonpolitical organization that undertakes the difficult task of helping political prisoners, wherever they may be. To my surprise, not long after that, I received a letter from Mrs. Karin Gawell, a member of the Swedish Section of Amnesty International. Someone had informed the organization of my case.
This was the first letter from abroad delivered to me. The second came from my McGill University classmate, Ian McPherson, who had become general counsel for Air Canada. On the occasion of a visit to Canada by the Nationalist Chinese Vice-minister of Justice, Cha Liang-chen, McPherson asked him to deliver the letter to me at Taipei, and it was done. I have since learned that these were only two of many letters addressed to me from abroad. The others I did not see, but these alone deeply moved me; they were convincing evidence that my friends abroad were deeply concerned.
The spring and summer months were exceedingly hot and murky, almost unbearable during the hours when windows had to be closed because of the presence of certain prisoners in the exercise yard. Petty incidents would either entertain us or deepen our inevitable periods of depression. I was tense and irritable much of the time, and found myself constantly making an issue of the language question with the prison officials. The deputy director was a repulsive character, shifty-eyed, devious, and mean at heart. He began to insist that all conversation during visits with my family be in the official Mandarin Chinese. I pointed out that there was no prison rule forbidding the use of the Formosan language (Hollo), and it was up to him to employ a clerk who could understand it. When I wrote a long letter addressed to the garrison commander, complaining on this point, he tried to calm me down, for he knew that my letters received attention high in the hierarchy. He coupled his soothing remarks with a veiled threat, reminding me that the editor Lei Chen, who had occupied my Room 2, had had trouble and had been punished like a child for noncooperation. He probably lied, but he intended to intimidate me.
I had learned of a young military cadet who had been involved in the same case as Wu had been. He always had to have his left hand bandaged for it had been totally wrecked during a period of torture. Some of his companions had been shot and of three brothers arrested with him, one had "fallen from the train and been killed while trying to escape on the journey, under gnard, from Tainan to Taipei. The second brother was in my prison, still awaiting trial after more than two years. He often wakened us all, shouting and screaming. He was chained, and after this went on for several months, he disappeared.
Another prisoner, a Chinese, became deranged during the exhausting examinations, and tried again and again to commit suicide by striking his head against the wall. From time to time in the evenings he was brought to Room 3, the cell adjoining mine, where he was chained to a bed. He did not scream, but we could hear the struggle as he fought to destroy himself.
An impersonal excitement swept over the camp on the occasion of a heavy typhoon. Sometimes the lights went out throughout our district in the city. Normally we had to bear the light from a naked bulb shining in our cells through the night, but on these occasions, when the prison plunged into darkness, the camp guard was instantly alerted, all doors were locked, and candles were lighted in the corridors.
One day I was told that as a favor my room would be repainted. My cellmate and I were moved to Room 4 for three days. When we returned, the painter found occasion to come back for a forgotten brush. He was one of Wei's uncles, serving a ten-year sentence, and waiting until the guard was a little distant, he suddenly whispered to me that "They have installed a bug in the ceiling."
I continued to occupy Room 2. Hsieh had been brought to Room 4, and Wei was in Room 6. Wei used sometimes to sing folk songs after supper, and very oceasionally we shouted meaningless non-words, just to let one another know we were still present. This invariably brought guards to our doors. For a time Hsieh was cleverly able to pass notes back and forth. We were obliged to clean our rooms each morning before a working prisoner appeared, moving from cell to cell with a trash scoop or dustpan. Hsieh had bribed our man by giving him fruit, and he managed to sweep up and then deposit crumpled bits of paper upon which we had written a few characters.
Wei and Hsieh risked retaliation for bold and outspoken criticism of the prison administration. Hsieh undertook to sue the policeman who had beaten him up when we were arrested in the hotel room, and both men sued investigators who had mistreated them. Their papers were sent up through the prison offices, the garrison command sent in some agents for investigation but no action followed. Wei was always quarreling on the issue of censorship. When the wording of a letter to his family was altered by the prison censors, he undertook to sue them too, saying that they could have returned the letter to him or could have destroyed it, but they had no right to alter it in passage. This made the deputy director furious, and one day when I was walking back and forth in the exercise pen, I saw this man standing outside Wei's window, talking to him through the bars. Soon I heard the sounds of a violent argument. The director shouted that Wei was "nothing but a traitor," and Wei retorted that the deputy director was "nothing but a pig, a running dog of the K.M.T." I was alarmed, and could not resist shouting to Wei, "Stop it! It's of no use!" I was fearful of the consequences for Wei, but nothing came of it. We were still being treated carefully, and our case handled cautiously, but no decision came down in response to our appeals.
The monotony of prison routine was relieved one day by notification of the impending visit of an important person. Everyone was required to clean his cell thoroughly and white cot covers were issued, just for the day. At the appointed hour our windows were all shut, and at the moment of the visitor's arrival, strings of congratulatory firecrackers were shot off at the gate, the strange sounds echoing in prison compound walls. I heard people moving about in the courtyard and on peering through cracks and flaked-off spaces, I was astonished to see Chiang Ching-kuo dressed in a neat dark suit and highly polished shoes, smiling and nodding as he inspected the exercise yard, the corridors, and the general layout of the camp. This visit had nothing to do with our case and Ching-kno did not approach our cells. His inspection tour lasted perhaps an hour.
He came twice during the months I was there. The reception and his tour of the camp was the same on each occasion. Why did this very busy man take time for such a gesture? I could not understand. I did not know if he visited other prisons, but here every inmate had been seized and was confined by his garrison command. Was this sadism or was this a manifestation of that curious characteristic noted by Ambassador Tsiang, a desire to present an appearance of concern for the underdog? One could understand his frequent visits to army camps and barracks as an obvious attempt at camaraderie, but visits to military internment camps such as ours could not be so easily explained.
In the early autumn (1965), when the reply to my appeal was long and illegally overdue, my mother and lawyer, after long discussions and consultations with relatives and close friends, reached a conclusion. The matter of prime importance now was to get me out of prison by any means. Under Chiang's regime any thought of my becoming a martyr would be totally futile, a wasteful expense of spirit bordering on insanity. Any means available had to be used to secure my safe release. People, especially those who were familiar with Chinese politics and mentality, would understand that the regime had to save face, and any attempt on our part to bring about my release would be understood as well. Once I left prison, there would be ample opportunities for us to repudiate whatever the government could say about the circumstances.
I noted with great interest much later that this same approach, not uncommon in Asian domestic politics, was adopted even by the United States government in Asian international politics. In order to secure the freedom of the Pueblo's crew, captured by the North Korean government, the United States government agreed to admit its "guilt" in violating North Korean Sovereignty, even though throughout the whole incident the United States maintained that it had never done so. Immediately after the return of the prisoners, the U.S. repudiated its confessions of gulit and declared any admissions were for the sole purpose of obtaining the release of the crew.
Although it was intensely distasteful to her, my mother agreed that I must appeal in person. It would be done under duress and the world would surely understand. We did not talk about it during our brief conversations at the prison meeting-room. A secret note on the subject was placed among my papers, something for me to find and contemplate without discussion.
The appeal was sent to the Generalissimo. I began to sense an impending change, perhaps my release, when my family sent in clothes, necktie, a white shirt, and a gift of flowers. This last prompted an amazed guard to mutter, "How strange for anyone to send flowers to a prisoner who has no place to put them." On November 3, 1965, I had supper at five o'clock and at about six o'clock, as it was getting dark, the prison director summoned me to his office upstairs. He sat alone, with papers lying on the desk before him. Picking up one, he said solemnly, "The decision on your appeal is here. It has been rejected. You are sentenced to eight years in prison." There was a long moment of silence. He then said, "There is another document here. At the President's special order you have been granted amnesty. You will be freed."
"What of Hsieh and Wei?" I asked.
"I really don't know. Nothing about them has been said."
"When can I go home?"
The director was obviously savoring this last moment of authority. He preferred to be vague. "Maybe tonight . . . perhaps tomorrow. Go pack and be ready. There may be some further business to finish."
This was not true. Everything had been prearranged with military precision, even to the minute that I was to step through the prison gate.
I returned to my cell. My roommate congratulated me. Staff Officer Wang came in to say nervously, "Now surely you are not going to make a parade or have a big celebration? You will not shoot off firecrackers to celebrate?" I assured him, "No, I am not interested in firecrackers."
Soldiers came in, packed my many books, and with them in hand escorted me to the prison office. To my surprise I was not asked to sign documents or to produce a guarantor for good behavior. In my presence and in the presence of the director of the prison and his staff, my effects were carefully inspected. It was a moment of suspense for me, for I was smuggling out several papers I had written in prison, records of my experiences and observations, which I later published.
At precisely 9:45 P.M. on November 3, 1965, we stepped out of the prison gate. My release was timed too late for publication in the evening papers, but just in time for a television news announcement on the last evening broadcast. By then I would be already in my home, and there would be no crowd waiting there to welcome me.
The prison director and Staff Officer Wang of the Political Warfare Section of the Garrison Command escorted me to a chauffeured car and rode with me across town. I noticed a military jeep standing by as we entered the small lane leading into the university housing area. One block further on we drew up before my gate, and I left the car. I was at home.