Tai­wan POW Camp Me­mo­rial Ser­vice hon­ors US pilots held dur­ing Ja­pan rule

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

Seventy years ago, on June 19, four­teen U.S. sol­diers who were be­ing held at Taipei Prison un­der Ja­panese colo­nial rule were ex­e­cuted. Seventy years later, the founder and di­rec­tor of the Tai­wan POW Camps Me­mo­rial So­ci­ety ( ) Michael Hurst has in­tro­duced a me­mo­rial ser­vice in com­mem­o­ra­tion of those killed at POW camps dur­ing the pe­riod of Ja­panese rule.

On June 19 this year, Hurst was joined by Amer­i­can In­sti­tute in Tai­wan Deputy Di­rec­tor Brent Christensen, Bri­tish Of­fice Taipei del­e­gate Chris Wood, Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs Depart­ment of Pro­to­col Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Larry R.L. Tseng, an Aus­tralian Of­fice Taipei del­e­gate and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Air Force Com­mand Head­quar­ters of the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense.

They were guided to the for­mer ex­e­cu­tion grounds, which are now a mod­ern gar­den lo­cated in the Chunghwa Tele­com (CT, ) Taipei head­quar­ters, by CT staff as it is nor­mally a re­stricted area.

Stand­ing amid the con­crete com­pany of­fices is a three-me­ter long brick wall, one of the few re­main­ing parts of the Taipei Prison. It is now pre­served by law as a his­toric site.

Four­teen wooden crosses with the vic­tims’ names writ­ten on them were placed in a row, lean­ing against the fence. Amaz­ing Grace was played on bag­pipes while par­tic­i­pants placed red poppy chains in front of the crosses to serve as a sym­bol of re­mem­brance for those who fought and helped in the war.

Be­fore the Ja­panese Sur­ren­der

Ac­cord­ing to Hurst, more than 30 U. S. Air Force pilots were held cap­tive by the Ja­panese colo­nial gov­ern­ment in 1945. Four­teen were charged with “bomb­ing civil­ians,” and then ex­e­cuted af­ter a se­cret trial.

Two months later, the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment sur­ren­dered to the Al­lied pow­ers. Another eleven for­eign pilots also held at Taipei Prison were able to es­cape and re­turn home.

Dur­ing World War II, the Ja­panese colo­nial gov­ern­ment set up 16 POW camps in Tai­wan, re­port­edly im­pris­on­ing more than 4,000 pris­on­ers, in­clud­ing high­rank­ing com­man­ders from UK, the U.S. and the Nether­lands, namely U. S. army of­fi­cer and Com­man­der of the Al­lied Forces of the Philip­pines Jonathan May­hew Wain­wright IV, Bri­tish Gen­eral Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Malaya Arthur Ernest Per­ci­val and Sir Mark Aitchi­son Young, a Bri­tish ad­min­is­tra­tor who be­came the gover­nor of Hong Kong.

Hurst added to his speech that the fa­mous Hakka rev­o­lu­tion­ary Luo Fux­ing was also ex­e­cuted by Ja­panese author­i­ties here in the Taipei Prison.

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