James Soong, the GIO and White Terror

In this thread:

forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … &&start=30

people like ac_drivel and Juba are trying to say that Soong and/or the GIO that he was the head of, had nothing to do with White Terror.

This is not ancient history, and the GIO was instrumental in the operation of the ‘White Terror’ government suppression of Taiwanese efforts top gain democratisation, human rights, independence, and/or the promotion of their own local culture. Thousands of people were arrested, beaten, deported and even murdered. The GIO was given wide powers under the martial law regulations (which suspended the Constitution in many areas) to regulate magazines and newspapers. This included being able to order the arrest of people involved in ‘dissenting’ publications. They were able to make very loose interpretations of such regulations.

The reason the GIO was so involved is that ‘dissenters’ often organised around a magazine. It was the supression of the movement associated with the ‘Formosa’ magazine that led to the Gaoxiong Incident. After this crackdown Lin Yixiong was arrested. When his mother tried to complain to Amnesty international, she and Lin’s two daughters were brutally murdered in their house. By the way, they were under house arrest at the time, and the house was under 24 hour police surveillance.

And Soong himself? This is from ‘Taiwan, A Political History’ by Denny Roy:

So don’t tell me Soong is innocent. He’s gulitly of massive repression of the press, mass arrest, beatings and possibly even murder. Why the Taiwanese would elect someone so obviously opposed to human rights, democracy and Taiwanese culture, is beyond me.


I believe Soong was also reponsible for regulations that limited how much radio and TV programming could be broadcast in Taiwanese.

But there may be a problem of terminology here. ‘White terror’ usually refers to the second phase of KMT repression from the early 1950s to about 1960. By this time, the Taiwanese elite had been almost completely liquidated, so the main target of repression was actually mainlander dissidents. Many units that came to Taiwan were not necessarily loyal the Chiang Kai-shek and there was a very real danger of a coup in the unstable years before 1955. The Sun Liren incident is a good example. There were also significant numbers of mainland intellectuals who were loyal to the Republic of China and committed to democratic values but were fiercely opposed the Chiang regime. They were also victims of white terror although they were usually jailed for long periods rather than being summarily executed. I saw figure in one of the papers the other day that said that during white terror there were upwards of 100,000 political prisoners of which some 9,000 are believed to have been executed.

Anyway, the point is that while Soong was certainly complicit with Chiang Ching-kuo’s authoritarian regime, he can’t be held responsible for white terror since he was much too young to be politically active in any significant way during the 1950s.

Check out the city government’s white terror memorial in the Fudekeng public cemetary. It’s a sort of primary document that will help you understand how people (well, the Ma administration anyway) talk about white terror.

Under martial law the GIO worked hand in hand with the universally hated and feared
Taiwan Garrison Command, the chief institution entrusted
with control over the media. This was a military agency that enjoyed
a ‘reputation for arbitrariness and ruthlessness’. (Thomas B. Gold,
State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle, (New York, 1986), p.63.)
The TGC was required to ensure the restrictive provisions of martial
law were obeyed, and that included suppressing the media when
necessary. Hence on the surface the GIO was technically the highest
institution supervising all forms of domestic publications and
electronic media, but the Garrison Command remained in de facto
control until the end of martial law, (and the passing of the National Security Law) at which time many TGC cadres simply swapped fatigues for civilian garb and transferred over to the GIO.

Some highlights:

James Soong personally responsible for the revocation of Tina Chou’s (Associated Press) press licence for publish the autopsy results of professor Chen Wen-cheng killed on the National Taiwan University campus in 1981 in violation of GIO orders.

GIO banned the replication and distribution of a 1988 videotape showing police assaulting peaceful and unarmed protesters in Taipei (the DCA later produced a heavily edited version to attempt to rebut the video evidence).

The repressive licensing policies under the Publications Law which was not repealed until 1999.

The ban on satelite and cable television which was in place until 1993, and was only lifted then because it was already too widespread to ignore.

The ban on call-in radio shows which was only lifted in 1994.

This isn’t even starting on the consistent denial of permission to publish any books on the Taiwanese language, import of any books critical of the KMT etc. etc.

You raise an intersting point about the terminology of ‘White Terror’ Feiren.

I’d always assumed it to mean post 228 (or perhaps post 1949) repression, including the Zhongli Incident, Gaoxiong Incident etc. I’m sure I’ve heard the term used in this way before.

But, I think you’re riight. Checking the index of Roy’s book which I quoted above (and is still sitting on my desk:


Soong spend most of his time in the USA towards the tail end of White Terror, working on graduate degrees. Unless he was the most sophisticated tele-hitman Taiwan has ever seen.

By the time he had significant power in Taiwan it was a decade before the lifting of martial law in Taiwan.

You can not like him because of LTH smear campaign against the guy. You can not like him cause he censored your favorite song, article, and newspaper.
You can not like him cause he has his own party.

But the guy was not an assassin by any stretch of the imagination.

Which is exactly when the Gaoxiong Incident happened ac. Did you actually read the post I made to start this thread? Go back and read it.

I don’t think anyone is saying Soong is an assassin. Unlike your hero CKS, he never personally murdered someone, but the he was the head of the department that led the repression of those connected with the Formosa Magazine; the repression that included the murder of two young girls and a grannie.


Bu Lai En,

Your post only confirms my point Soong was a paper pusher not a thug in the street.

Soong upheld the GIO policy of banning sensitive material in Taiwan’s public media.

The Taiwan police are the one responsible for suspending individual civil liberties and placing people under arrest.

If people resist arrest the police are within their right to use force.

The only thing Soong is guilty of is upholding the law during that period of ROC history.

I personally don’t like the guy cause he has no loyalty to the KMT party. But I don’t make far-fetch accusations of the guy.

If CKS was head of GIO in 1980’s I assure you no one would be talking about it Gaoxiong Incident right now.


If CKS was head of GIO in 1980’s I assure you no one would be talking about it Gaoxiong Incident right now.[/quote]
And I imagine the thought of that makes you orgasmic.

Does your wife know you fantasize about me online? :slight_smile:

That is indeed the point I was making in the other thread. Like Lee Teng-Hui, James Soong was a KMT and government official during the oppressive martial law period, and therefore he, and Lee also, must bear some responsibility for some aspects of the oppression, but that was common-or-garden oppression, not the White Terror.

A reminder:

The GIO was the dictatorship’s propaganda and censorship arm, a vital part of the apparatus for subjugating the Taiwanese people and suppressing dissent, so Soong was as complicit in the crimes of the White Terror as Goebbels was in the crimes of Hitler’s Nazi regime.[/quote]
The White Terror on Taiwan was at its height in the early 1950s. James Soong was born in 1942. He graduated from university in 1964, then went to the US to do postgraduate studies for the next ten years. Go figure.

Name: James Soong
Birth date: March 16, 1942
B.A. in diplomacy,
National Chengchi University
M.A. in political science, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. in political science, Georgetown University
Professional experience :

  1. Secretary, Executive Yuan/Presidential Office, 1974
  2. Director-General, Government Information Office, 1979
  3. Director, Cultural Affairs Department,
    Kuomintang Central Committee, 1984
  4. Deputy Secretary-General, Kuomintang Central Committee, 1987
  5. Member, Central Standing Committee, Kuomintang, 1988
  6. Secretary-General, Kuomintang Central Committee, 1989
  7. Governor of Taiwan, 1993
  8. Governor of Taiwan (elected), 1994
  9. Outstanding Visiting Scholar, University of California, 1999
  10. Outstanding Visiting Scholar, East Asian Research Institute, University of California, Berkeley, 1999
  11. Presidential Candidate, 2000
  12. Chairman, People First Party, since 2000


I am not necessarily trying to portray James Soong is a cuddly uncle or overall nice chappy. I am just saying Omniloquacious’ claim that “Soong was as complicit in the crimes of the White Terror as Goebbels was in the crimes of Hitler’s Nazi regime” is way off.

Soong may have been following “the law”, but he is said to have taken a sadistic relish in his exploits. Soong is reported to have micro-managed the GIO-even personally thumbing through Sinorama Magazine to make personal changes. Soong has been recorded in a conversation planning a campaign to use libel suits as a political tool to “chill” the voices of the opposition. Soong did not have the ability to understand how his actions were in violation of the universal rights of all people. Not the kind of man you’d want leading your nation.


look at the methods used to chill the voices of the opposition and then tell me Soong wasn’t an accomplice to murder…

White Terror is a term used to describe the fear generated by the ROC government’s secret police organizations and the Garrison Command during uring the era of martial law as stipulated by the Temporary Provisions and the Vigilance Measures Law. A collective fear shared by Taiwanese of their government inducing a chilling effect on political opposition and compliance with the KMT party goal of “retaking the mainland”.

I never said he was a thug on the street. I made that clear in the last post. You really do have a problem reading. Yes, he was a paper pusher. He pushed (and wrote) the papers with the repression orders on them. Orders that led to mass-arrests, beatings and murder.

Yes, and arresting, all those who opposed them.

The are responsible for carrying out the orders. Soong was one of those givign out orders. Taiwan was not run by the police. The GIO, Garrison Command etc controlled them.

If people resist arrest the police are within their right to use force.[/quote]

Firstly, these were people being arrested for working for a magazine trying to promote democracy and their own culture. If you saw pictures of Nazi Brownshirts beating dissidents in 1930s Berlin, would you also say “If people resist arrest the police are within their right to use force.”?

Secondly, the police often beat the shit out of people who were not resisting arrest as all. It was a tactic of opression.

No. That’s what the police were guilty of. He was involved in making and interpreting the law. And they were very bad laws designed (literally) to suspend human rights.

There’s nothing far-fetched about it. It’s historical fact.


Hey, if you’re going to have exploits, why not take a little sadistic relish in them? That’s what my ol’ pappy used to say, anyway.

Soong is reported to have micro-managed the GIO-even personally thumbing through Sinorama Magazine to make personal changes.[/quote]

And this practice continues today.


Soong is reported to have micro-managed the GIO-even personally thumbing through Sinorama Magazine to make personal changes.[/quote]

And this practice continues today.[/quote]

But the implications of it on the general media freedom is somewhat smaller than it was when Jimmy Soongboy was in charge.

So there is no evidence of Soong being involved in White Terror.

There is evidence that Soong cited certain publication to be illegal based on ROC laws at the time. Which is common, even CSB had a magazine shut down when he came into office as President and not the GIO.

So the problem lies with how those individuals were treated after their civil rights were temporary suspended. That’s really a police misconduct issue and the blame lies in police training. Not Soong interpretation of ROC GIO laws, rules, and policies.

Absolutely untrue. A magazine was raided after publishing classified documents. But nothing was ever shut down. This ignorant little pillock always getting his facts wrong is really screwing up this forum. He did it over the referendum too.

My facts are correct. If you don’t like my spin, that’s another issue altogether.

And this is justified? If the pan-Green are the proponents of a more transparent and non-KMT style government, isn’t this action a contradiction to their platform.

The magazine was not shut down. It was raided and one issue confiscated - but not before I got a copy!

One medium that has been banned under the DPP is mainland Chinese CCTV4 that used to be broadcast on cable TV.

And why was CCTV4 banned? They just show soap opera and education shows introducting the island of Taiwan.