A Taste of Freedom
by Dr. Peng Ming-min

    The three worlds in which I had lived in the past decades came distinctively and simultaneously into my thoughts:  the Chinese world of my ethnic heritage; the Japanese world in which I spent most of my youth, and which was once politically dominant over Formosa; and the Western world to which I had been closely linked ideologically and intellectually and to which I was returning.
    I was now heading toward a blank and uncertain future, but I was certain of one thing: the life ahead would never be the same as the life I had lived.
     A sharp awareness came to my mind that my experience symbolized the destiny of a whole generation of Formosans--their life and tragedy.

    The man who wrote these lines after fleeing his homeland and whose autobiography this is, is one of the leaders of the Formosan independence movement.  Although at one time a legal adviser to the Chinese Nationalist Delegation at the United Nations, he was seized by Chiang Kai-shek's police in 1964, charged with sedition, and held first in prison and then in his own home, from which he dramatically escaped in 1970.
    Born into a well-to-do Formosan family in 1923, Peng went to school first in Formosa, which was part of the Japanese Empire from 1895 to 1945, and then during World War II in Japan, where he was seriously wounded during an American bombing raid and witnessed the atomic explosion at Nagasaki.  After completing his education at National Taiwan University he went on to pursue a Masters degree from  McGill University in Canada.  He received a doctoral degree in Law from the University of Paris in 1954.  After returning to Taiwan, Peng became Professor and Chairman of the Political Science Department at Taiwan National University from 1961-62.
    However, Peng's growing awareness that Chiang Kai-shek's repressive regime had no intention of allowing his more than fourteen million countrymen to control their own destines drove him into political opposition.  He was arrested in the fall of 1964, while preparing his manifesto, "Declaration of Formosans", calling for a new democratic constitution and Formosan independence.
    Peng Ming-min taught at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan (1970-72) when he wrote this book  He then taught at Wright State University in Ohio until 1974.  He was President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) from 1986-89.
    After 22 years of exile in the United States, he finally returned to his beloved homeland of Taiwan in November 1992.  He received a heroic welcome from the people of Taiwan.  Peng is now considered the spiritual leader of the Taiwanese People both in the USA and in Taiwan.  After returning to Taiwan, Peng continued to devote his efforts to speak out for the right to self-determination of the Taiwanese people and the democratization of Taiwan.  He was the presidential candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 1996 presidential elections in Taiwan.

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