Formosans' Plea For Red Aid Seen
Harsh Repression of Revolt Is Expected to Increase Efforts to Escape Rule by China
By Tillman Durdin
NANKING, March 29 -- Far reaching domestic and international repercussions are expected to result from the bloody, ruthless methods used by the Chinese in dealing with the anti-Government movement in Formosa.
All foreign witnesses of the slaughters, looting and wholesale imprisonment of natives by Chinese troops and police agree that bitter hostility has been fanned among Formosans that seems certain to take the shape of continuous efforts to rebel against the Chinese administration.
Although there has been no Communist activity in Formosa, it is felt that communism can hardly fail to take root now. The mainland Chinese Communists are the only effective anti-government force in existence so it would be natural for Formosans to seek Communist leadership. Mainland Communists are not likely to miss an opportunity to utilize Formosans to create further difficulties for Nanking.
Control of Formosa from now on will be a matter of sheer force. The Government has created for itself a large commitment in the way of garrison forces that will have its effect on the anti-Communist drive on the mainland and on the national economy.
*Not Formally in China
China's possession of the island has not been formalized by international treaty. This cannot come about until the peace pact with Japan is concluded. Formosans know this and some are talking of appealing to the United Nations to put the island under an international mandate. They stress that China has no more historical claim to Formosa than the Japanese, Dutch and Portuguese, who had early trading interests there.
If Formosa becomes a focus of Communist influence, American interests will be involved. Formosa is one of the strategic chain of islands between Japan and the Philippines.
An American weekly magazine, The China Weekly Review, today was the first publication in the country to give a full story of the recent tragic events on the island. The Review carries a detailed account, written by John W. Powell, the publisher, who has just returned from a week's visit to the island.
Mr. Powell described the Chinese actions as "almost unbelievable repression, enforced on a generally peaceful, unarmed populace." He reports witnesses' accounts of widespread killings and atrocities and says conservative estimates place the number of killed at 5,000 with thousands more imprisoned and being executed from time to time.
Reporting on southern Formosa, he wrote:
"Three thousand would-be revolutionists are reported to have fled to hills inhabited by aborigines and it is expected they will continue to give the Government trouble indefinitely, although their revolution probably is quashed for the time being."
The American editor declares that "from personal observation and interviews with provincial officials and responsible foreigners the only picture one can draw is one of complete misrule politically, of the basest economic exploitation and of general disintegration."
He says the only wonder is that the uprisings did not come sooner. He points out that at the end of the war the Formosans welcomed being incorporated into China, but that this attitude has steadily changed. He declares the islanders now say the Japanese were better and that they want to be severed from Chinese rule.