[Marxism] Re: The Taiwan nation -- a recent and purely politicalartifact

michael karadjis mkaradjis at hn.vnn.vn
Wed Mar 9 10:25:38 MST 2005

"... Politically it described the "Taiwanese nation" (Taiwan Minzu) as those
descendents of Koxinga's army and later settlers from southeastern China

Taiwanese Communist Party


The Taiwanese Communist Party (Taiwanese: Tâi-oân Kiōng-sán Tóng, pinyin:
Táiwān Gòngchăndăng) was a revolutionary organization active in Japan-ruled
Taiwan. Like the contemporary Taiwanese People's Party its existence was
short, a mere three years, yet its politics and activities were influential
in shaping Taiwan's anti-colonial enterprise. For a brief time after World
War II individual members continued to play a role in anti-Kuomintang
activites, most notably in the aftermath of the 228 Incident in 1947.


The party was officially formed on April 5, 1928. Its planning went back to
as early as 1925, when Moscow-trained Taiwanese students began to contact
like-minded individuals in China and Japan. By late 1927 Comintern had
instructed Japanese Communists (organized since 1922) to draft political and
organizational charters (綱領) for a "Japanese Communist Party, Taiwanese
National Branch". Following the draft, Lin Mu-shun and Hsieh Hsüeh-hung
secretly met in Shanghai with seven others -- of whom three represented the
Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Communist Parties, respectively -- to form the
nascent organization.

In 1931 Comintern elevated the group's status from party branch to that of a
full-fledged party directly answerable to it.

Organization and ideology

Organizationally the 1928 charter subjected the Taiwanese Communists to the
Japanese party. Politically it described the "Taiwanese nation" (Taiwan
Minzu) as those descendents of Koxinga's army and later settlers from
southeastern China. Both Koxinga and the Manchu rulers established a feudal
system, which in its view began to disintegrate with the introduction of
19th century Western capital into the island. The Republic of Formosa
represented a revolutionary movement of feudal landowners, merchants and
radical patriots, but one doomed to failure given the immaturity of the
native capitalist class. It saw Taiwan's capitalism as utterly dependent
upon its Japanese counterpart. The proletariat revolution would be driven by
the "contradiction" between the dominant Japanese capital and the native
(and poorly developed) capital and rural feudalistic elements. The goal of
the party was to unite the workers and the peasants. Toward that goal the
party would use the left-leaning Taiwanese Cultural Association as a
platform and legal front, as well as expose the "lies" of the Taiwanese
People's Party, which had been moving toward the left under Chiang
Wei-shui's leadership.

Although Japanese Communists had been entrusted with the task of guiding the
Taiwanese branch, massive repression in Japan proper, starting in 1928, left
the Taiwanese adrift. Some leftist students were also forced to return to
Taiwan. Leadership fell to Hsieh Hsüeh-hung to re-organize in light of the


The party sought to organize workers in as-yet unorganized key industries,
including the transportation sector and mines in northern Taiwan. Party
cadres were sent to work and propagandize in the logging ranches of Yilan
and the mines in Chilung, with mixed success. In Taipei the party led a
failed strike by print workers. In the island's south cadres sparked a
strike by railroad workers in Kaohsiung. Overall, however, the TCP was
neither as active nor as successful as the Alliance of Taiwanese Workers
(affiliated with the Taiwanese People's Party).

The party had more success organizing peasants. Earlier a bottom-up farmers'
movement had spread rapidly in 1925, leading to the creation of the
island-wide Taiwanese Peasants' Union. The TCP was able to cultivate its
faction within the Union and by late 1928 the Union had openly declared its
support for the Communists. At that time the Great Depression of 1930 was
seen by many Communists worldwide as a sign that the proletariat revolution
was on the verge of exploding. Japan's war efforts in China had also bogged
down. By 1931 the TCP-led Peasants' Union was secretly training farmers
(many of Hakka ethnicity) in preparation for armed struggle to form a
soviet -- one that some believed would soon elicit support from the Chinese
Communists. A leak allowed the authorities to liquidate a key group, putting
a halt to the plan.

>From its inception the TCP had plans to infiltrate the Cultural Association,
already left-leaning after a group of moderate and conservative leaders had
left in 1927. It was a convenient platform that could serve as a legal
front. The third congress (1929) saw the Communists succeed in electing
several cadres to the Association's central committee. They proceeded to
purge the leadership of the remaining conservatives and non-TCP leftists,
particularly Lien Wenqing.

Between 1931 and 1933 authorities arrested 107 TCP members, who were
sentenced to terms up to fifteen years. A few died in prison.

Factionalism within the party

Initially the party had been under the sway of the Japanese theorist
Yamakawa Hitoshi, who advocated uniting the workers, peasants, and the
"petty bourgeoisie" to form a "mass party". Comintern also initially favored
Communists uniting with "bourgeoisie forces" to wage an anti-imperialist war
of national liberation. The TCP's 1931 charter, however, reflected new
assessment that downplayed the revolutionary potential of the bourgeoisie.
Class struggle was to be the priority. Hsieh, who had been leader up to this
point, was opposed to the new turn. She and her supporters were forced out
of the party.

Post-World War II

There is no evidence that surviving members of the party managed to
re-constitute the TCP after Japan's surrender to the Allied Forces. However,
during the two-year period between 1945 and the aftermath of the 228
Incident, individual Communists (most notably Hsieh Hsüeh-hung) resumed
activities. The bloody repression of anti-Kuomintang dissent led them to
flee to the Mainland, where they merged into the ranks of the Chinese
Communists. Communist activities subsequent to the Nationalist
"retrocession" to Taiwan, in 1949, were therefore directed under the
auspices of the Chinese Communist Party.

Recent attempts at forming a Communist Party

After the lifting of martial law in 1988, attempts have been made to
re-establish a legal party of the same name. However, these applications to
the ROC Ministry of the Interior have been rejected on the grounds that
Article 2 of the Civic Organization Law which forbids civic organizations
and activities from promoting communism. Support for such a Communist Party
is very low. [1] (http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/55/530.html)


Yang, Bichuan. 1987. Jianming Taiwanshi (A concise history of Taiwan), Diyi
Chubanshe, Kaohsiung, Taiwan


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