1st Edition

Defectors from the PRC to Taiwan, 1960-1989 The Anti-Communist Righteous Warriors

By Andrew D. Morris Copyright 2022
    192 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Defections from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were an important part of the narrative of the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan during the Cold War, but their stories have previously barely been told, less still examined, in English.

    During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the ROC government paid much special attention to these anti-communist heroes (fangong yishi). Their choices to leave behind the turmoil of the PRC were a propaganda coup for the Nationalist one-party state in Taiwan, proving the superiority of the "Free China" that they had created there. Morris looks at the stories behind these headlines, what the defectors understood about the ROC before they arrived, and how they dealt with the reality of their post-defection lives in Taiwan. He also looks at how these dramatic individual histories of migration were understood to prove essential differences between the two regimes, while at the same time showing important continuities between the two Chinese states.

    A valuable resource for students and scholars of 20th century China and Taiwan, and of the Cold War and its impact in Asia.

    1. Introduction: Historiography, 1950s Cold War Background in Taiwan 2. “Just Waiting for the Chance”: PRC Defectors to Taiwan, 1960-1962 3. Chiang’s Last Defectors, 1965-1966 4. PLA Air Force Commander Fan Yuanyan’s 1977 Defection to Taiwan and the End of the Nationalist China Dream 5. Seize the Opportunity: Pilots and Pop Stars, 1982-83 6. "Hijacking Anti-Communism, 1983-1991: Righteous No More" 7. Conclusion and Epilogue: Free China and the Anti-Communist Righteous Warriors in History


    Andrew D. Morris is Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and studies the modern histories of Taiwan and China. He is the author of Colonial Project, National Game: A History of Baseball in Taiwan (University of California Press, 2010) and Marrow of the Nation: A History of Sport and Physical Culture in Republican China (University of California Press, 2004). He edited the volume Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and Its Contested Legacy (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), and co-edited the volume The Minor Arts of Daily Life: Popular Culture in Taiwan (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2004, with David K. Jordan and Marc L. Moskowitz).

    "This is a brilliant piece of work. Andrew Morris’s excellent analysis of the issues surrounding defectors from the PRC to Taiwan allow us to reevaluate the historical evolution of cross-Strait relations from the height of the Cold War to the post-Cold War era."---Hsiao-ting Lin, Research Fellow and Curator of East Asian Collection, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

    "Andrew Morris drives another stake in the heart of the long-held myth of the Cold War that Taiwan was the bastion of "Free China." Although many suffered under KMT rule, for millions the illusion that they would one day be able to retake mainland China also shaped policy toward communist-side defectors from the 1960s-1980s. These "righteous warriors," as they were to be labeled, and the media storms they generated around the world served as fodder for the larger fiery political battles on which PRC-ROC ideological borders were emotionally drawn. But the dark underbelly of violence and a real absence of democratic rights for those living in Taiwan eventually revealed the propping up of defectors to be the stale tactics of an authoritarian state which had failed to recognize the world around it had changed. Morris traces this story and so much more by unravelling the true narrative of postwar Taiwan hidden in KMT laudatory propaganda."---Barak Kushner, Professor of East Asian History and Chair of Japanese Studies in the Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

    "Defections took on great symbolic significance in a world divided by political ideology. In this well-researched work, Morris sheds light on a forgotten page in the history of the Taiwan Strait standoff. From celebrated heroes reaping handsome rewards to heinous hijackers and kidnappers wreaking havoc, Morris tells stories of Chinese Communist pilot defectors to Taiwan, individuals who were caught up in a whirlpool of political manipulations by the opposing states as well as their own intrigues and ambitions. This is a fascinating book, one that vividly portrays the human cost of the Cold War in Asia."---Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang, Associate Professor of East Asian History, University of Missouri-Columbia