台灣人民自救宣言 Declaration of Formosan Self-Salvation

1964年9月20日 彭明敏 謝聰敏 魏廷朝

September 20, 1964 Peng Ming-min Hsieh Tsung-min Wei Ting-chao

A strong movement is rapidly sweeping across Taiwan. It is a self-salvation movement for the 12 million (the population at that time) people of Taiwan, who are unwilling to be governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or destroyed by Chiang Kai-shek. People throughout the world are awakening, and we want to join them. To establish a democratic, free, sensible, and prosperous society, we will unite to abolish Chiang Kai-shek’s illegitimate regime. We deeply believe that joining this strong movement to realize our dignified objectives is everyone’s right, and also everyone’s duty.



“One China, One Taiwan” has long been a solid truth. In Europe, America, Africa, or Asia, the recognition of the Chinese Communists does not affect the world’s acceptance of “One China, One Taiwan.” Even in the United States, who remains isolated in its Asian policies, only a few conservative politicians advocate the theory of non-recognition (not recognizing Chinese Communists as the legitimate government of China). Mainstream opinions, especially those of the intellectuals, demand the legal recognition of “One China, One Taiwan” to ultimately solve the conundrum. American foreign policy is directed towards that end. Why does the United States still nominally treat Chiang’s regime as the only legitimate government of China? It is because the United States wants to use it to bargain with the Chinese Communists and reach a gainful compromise. The United States and Communist China have negotiated more than one hundred times in Warsaw. The United States has insisted that as long as the Chinese Communists abandon the request to “liberate Taiwan,” America’s door will always be open to them.


Chiang’s regime is barely surviving solely with the help of the Seventh Fleet of the United States. We should never be blinded by the wishful thinking of the “re-conquest of China” and thereby take the path of destruction. Once the Seventh Fleet retreats, Chiang’s regime will collapse in a few hours. Slogans such as the “re-conquest of China” only serve as a decoy of maintaining Chiang’s illegitimate regime and suppressing the people of Taiwan.



The “re-conquest of China” is absolutely impossible! Anyone with basic common sense will unquestionably arrive at such a conclusion. The military under Chiang Kai-shek is at best a defensive force; it is definitely not an offensive force. Its existence completely relies on the military assistance of the United States, and the goal of American assistance is limited to maintain America’s line of defense in the Pacific. Therefore it (Chiang’s military) cannot acquire attack weapons that are beyond the defense’s needs. Its navy cannot combat alone in the ocean, because it does not even have a battleship, let alone the equipment needed to maintain one. Its air force is composed of short-range fighter jets. The indispensable transporters and long-range fighter jets are pitifully few. Chiang’s army is still largely made up of lightly-equipped infantrymen; mechanized units and heavy artillery units are merely decorative.


Taiwan cannot afford to economically support the re-conquest of China. Although Chiang Kai-shek fully backs up his military and allocates more than eighty percent of the national budget to the military, it is difficult enough to maintain several hundred thousand soldiers during peacetime in this little place. How can the economy sustain the huge costs of war? How can it re-supply the loss of human power?


The purpose of war does not exist anymore. Chiang Kai-shek calls for liberty and democracy. he is stepping on human rights and keeps all the power in his hands though. He practices despotism with the help of his special agents. Some people say that the Mainlanders are nostalgic and thus easily manipulated by him. In reality, Chinese Communists have grown so powerful that the believers of Nationalism already can feel better about the humiliations caused by foreign powers in the last one hundred years. Who are we really fighting for? What are we fighting for? Chiang Kai-shek has lost a convincing objective for war. Who is willing to lose his life for this despot?


Chiang’s soldiers dedicate all their lives to him. What do they gain from it? Once they are old, they usually end up wandering the streets. How can they not detest this big lie? Therefore, retired soldiers often say: “Retired soldiers made Chiang lose China, and they would be the same ones to make him perish.”


The lives of soldiers on active duty are even worse. They often say: “Mao Ze-dong cut off our ties with our ancestors, and Chiang Kai-shek cut off our future generations.” Crazy people risk danger in desperation. Unruly people pass the days in melancholy. Army officers and soldiers always breach the rules. Commanders are corrupt and bribe many people. There is no discipline in the military.


As for the Taiwanese youth drafted to substitute for the retired soldiers, still embedded in their minds is their hatred for Chiang Kai-shek’s slaughtering of the twenty-thousand Taiwanese leaders during the 228 Incident. Although the Taiwanese youth do not vocalize it (their hatred), they are nevertheless Chiang Kai-shek’s “silent enemies.” Dressed in military uniforms, these youth’s thoughts are hard to penetrate. However, they are not about to call the bandit their father, and become a slave to Chiang Kai-shek. The political commissar system controls military actions, and reduces the efficiency of the military. The advantage of military actions is that one can swiftly mobilize human power and other resources to accomplish the mission. The political commissar system unfailingly monitors military actions, and its political purpose has more weight than military purpose; its political responsibility annuls military efficiency. Even though the enlightened ones in the military, like Sun Li-ren, have voiced dissent, they are charged with made-up offenses and remain wronged today. Those in the military often say: “once we mobilize, we will kill the political instructors first.”


Think! How can a military without any capability to attack, with no money, low morale, and inefficiency compete with the Communist Communists in a purposeless war called the “re-conquest of China.” The stubborn five-star Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek is like Don Quixote, challenging the windmills with a broken broom.



Why does Chiang keep shouting out the slogan of the “re-conquest of China?” It is because that this slogan is the only means for him to maintain power and command the people. For fifteen years, he has used this empty check to declare martial laws and control more than ten million people. His trick of “re-conquering China” is, without a doubt, the greatest lie of the twentieth century.


KMT officials know that this lie cannot last forever. They send their sons and the money they stole (from the state) abroad, preparing to flee at any time. At the same time, they act as a mountebank and feed the pill of “re-conquering China” to Chiang Kai-shek.


Let’s see what magic this slogan has:


1. It fools the people. It uses the psychological weakness of the people to prolong Chiang’s regime---one that has long lost its existence. Some Mainlanders are nostalgic, and they will support Chiang for the fantasy of “re-conquering China.” Some Taiwanese hope for the political pressures and the economic burdens to ease, so they tentatively believe in it.


2. In the Period of Mobilization for the Suppression of the Communist Rebels, Chiang can disregard the constitution and the law. He can falsely incriminate patriots who are honorable, further limit their freedom of speech, block the news, control people’s thoughts, and implement policies that deceive the public.


3. Chiang’s regime uses the Chinese Communists as a bargaining chip and a tool to obtain assistance (money, food, weapons, etc.) from the United States. When negotiations are not going smoothly, or when the U.S. pressures Chiang, the regime immediately gives out the message that the Nationalists and the Communists are about to have a talk in Hong Kong. This makes the Chinese Communist-phobic Americans helpless.


In sum, the slogan of “re-conquering China” can increase the regime’s bargaining power abroad; internally it allows the regime to strictly practice the politics of fear and extend its own existence.



Whom does Chiang Kai-shek’s regime represent?


The Nationalist government claims that it is “the only legitimate government of China.” He (Chiang) thinks that the members of the National Assembly, the Legislative Yuan, and the Control Yuan are elected by the people, including the representatives from Mainland China and Taiwan. We know that these elections took place eighteen years ago in 1947. We also know that the people of Mainland China detested the corruption and incompetence of Chiang’s government after less than two years in power. Although Chiang had millions of soldiers, he was soon driven out of the Mainland. Apparently, the people of Mainland China have chosen another government. If the Nationalist government could not represent the people of Mainland China then, how can it represent them eighteen years later today when a new generation has already come? Obviously, Chiang’s regime cannot represent the people of Mainland China now.


Then, can Chiang’s regime represent the people of Taiwan? Among the three thousand plus National Assembly representatives, those representing Taiwan amount only to a little more than ten. Among the four hundred seventy-three seats of the Legislative Yuan, those representing Taiwan amount to six. Their terms of office ended twelve and fifteen years ago, respectively. Therefore they cannot really represent the people of Taiwan. Moreover, during the 228 Incident, Chiang Kai-shek slaughtered twenty-thousand Taiwanese leaders (the population then was only six million). Despite the fact that the Taiwanese have been hushed on the subject, they are still the “silent enemies” of Chiang.


Speaking of the Taiwanese people and the Mainlanders, we must point out that while Chiang’s regime calls for the slogan of the “cooperation between the Taiwanese and the Mainlanders,” he actually shuns their collaboration. The regime does everything to sabotage the relationship between the Taiwanese and the Mainlanders. This strategy is most obvious in the elections. To manipulate and control the people, Chiang divides the Taiwanese and the Mainlanders, makes them distrust each other and act independently. Therefore the regime has always prevented concerted efforts by the Taiwanese and the Mainlanders to defeat Chiang’s despotic rule and achieve democracy. As Lei Chen requested that the Taiwanese work with the Mainlanders, Chiang Kai-shek showed his true colors---he disregarded public opinions both in Taiwan and abroad and fiercely named Lei Chen a communist. Chiang fully knows that the day when the Taiwanese and the Mainlanders cooperate would also be the day that his regime collapses.


In other words, Chiang’s regime represents the KMT, and according to their tradition of “party-state,” it represents China, too. The KMT itself is authoritarian, not democratic. Most of the party members have no rights to express themselves; in meetings, representatives can only listen to the teachings of their chief, clap, and bow. They are a bunch of sycophants and can only pass the proposals of their chief. They are afraid to question the content of the proposals. In the party, there are many factions. In Chiang’s struggle for power, he wiped out factions such as the Two Cantons, and those under Hu Han-min, Chang Fa-kwei, and Lee Tsung-jen. Factions that do not gain Chiang’s favor cannot join the core of power in the KMT. These numerous members who are rejected are of course angry and discontent. Smart people in the KMT choose to avoid talking about it and protest in silence. Some even actively criticize it, becoming the mainstream force that opposes Chiang’s regime.


We can say that Chiang’s regime only represents a select few inside the KMT. it does not represent China, nor can it represent Taiwan. In fact, it cannot even represent the KMT.



Taiwanese economy faces two serious problems: one is the huge military organization, and the other is a rapidly growing population. This is a trap of self-destruction under the regime’s false call for the “re-conquest of China.”


According to the regime’s statistics this year, military spending accounts for more than eighty percent of the budget. This number does not include all of the military spending. The price of the twenty tons of rice supplied by the National Grain Administration is far below the market price, and far below the listed price of the National Grain Administration. The transportation costs of the military, the electricity fees, and other expenses owed to state-owned companies are never paid. The income of the factories that supply military necessities and American aid go to the military also; the expenditure of the military far exceeds the capitals available.


A rapidly growing population also diminishes the effects of economic growth. Unemployment worsens daily, especially in the faming villages. There are about four million laborers in Taiwan, and among them at least one million, around one fourth of the laborers’ population, are unemployed. One thousand two hundred and thirty people are allotted every square kilometer of farm land. Each year, more than one thousand college-educated youth are forced to leave the country. Chiang’s regime is afraid to face the reality, telling people that the solution to the problem is the tall tale of the “re-conquest of China.” Although some fair-minded people demand a change, it does not help the situation. They say that those who advocate birth control are defeatists, for they place their hopes on the new-born babies, thinking that in twenty years this new generation will take up weapons to re-conquer China.


Many think that the land policy is one of the commendable accomplishments under the Chiang’s regime. In fact, the motive for Chiang to pursue land reform is to weaken the opposition force. Since the Ching Dynasty, the traditional political leaders of Taiwan come from the landed class. Chiang clearly knows that the ups-and-downs of these people will affect his authoritarian regime. Therefore, in 1948 he killed twenty thousand Taiwanese leaders during the 228 Incident and in 1950 implemented land reform to defeat the class of traditional political leaders. Of course, that the Mainlanders do not belong to the Taiwanese gentry is the main reason the land reform could be put into practice. Chiang single-mindedly destroyed the landed class and its local influence never recovers after this setback; farmers are oppressed in the pricing of farm products; they remain unable to escape heavy taxes, fertilizers-for-grains policy, and other forms of exploitation. Everyday they scrape a living.


Economic policies should be conducted with a long-term development plan in mind. The regime, however, blindly invests without following basic economic principles. It takes emergency measures that are superficial and provisional. To keep supplying food to the military, the regime exploits the farmers. The regime covets the small profits at hand and in doing so loses the real benefits. They are afraid that it would suddenly be unable to supply financially the military, and thus allows the taxation system, the regime’s lifeline, to corrupt, instead of reforming it. For consolidation in power, it even collaborates with zaibatsu (plutocrats) and oppresses the poor public, which creates huge economic inequality and renders the society highly unstable.


Let’s see the true colors of Chiang’s regime at its end. On one hand, it places the executioners in important positions to rule with violence. On the other hand, it exploits the people by selling state-owned enterprises and using the twelve hundred million worth of government bonds to buy land in cities. Further, Chiang sends his financial manager Hsu Po-yuan to disperse the hard-won possession of Taiwanese people for a significant amount of real estate purchase.



Is Taiwan sufficient to form its own country?


A country is only an instrument to bring welfare to its people. Any people who face the same situation and stand to lose or gain together can form a country. For more than ten years, Taiwan has practically been a country. In terms of population, productivity, and cultural level, Taiwan ranks in the thirties among the one hundred and plus members of the United Nations. In fact, it is the people from many small countries that are benefiting more from social welfare and the contributions of culture. The Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, and South America’s Paraguay are all good examples. We should abandon the illusion and burden of a “big country” and face reality by building a democratic and prosperous society.


Some people said that Chiang Kai-shek has become a naked emperor, and that we can wait for the end of his regime. However, we must not exclude the possibility that when Chiang’s regime ends, those in charge would not hand Taiwan over to the Chinese Communists. We must be concerned that Taiwan might be dominated by the international powers. For this reason, we absolutely cannot wait (for Chiang’s regime to end).


Many intellectuals still blindly believe in a “peaceful transfer of power” and “gradual reform.” We must point out that if you look at the notorious history of the KMT, you will immediately realize that with the arrogant Chiang Kai-shek, any compromise is not a hope but merely a trap---a trap especially for the prosecution of intellectuals. Therefore we must never have the delusion of a “peaceful transfer of power” nor compromise.


We also want to honestly warn those who cooperate with Chiang’s regime: “You should repent and stop acting as Chiang’s tools. Otherwise, history and the people will impose the most severe sanctions on you.



In a developing region like Taiwan, its economic development is in reality a grand cultural, social, economic, and political revolution with politics as the force propelling it all. Although Taiwan has a good foundation of modernization, as long as the corrupt and useless regime of Chiang Kai-shek exists in Taiwan, we are far from being completely modernized. Thus, we must never expect a “gradual reform.”


Based on such understandings, we propose the following thoughts. We are willing to shed our last drop of blood to realize these goals.


A: Our Goals


1. Realize that the “re-conquest of China” is impossible. Overthrow the Chiang Kai-shek regime. Gather the strength of the 12 million people, regardless of their origins, to build a new nation and establish a new government.

(一) 確認「反攻大陸」為絕不可能,推翻蔣政權,團結一千二百萬人的力量,不分省籍,竭誠合作,建設新的國家,成立新的政府。

2. Adopt a new constitution to protect the basic human rights. Establish an effective government that is responsible to the Parliament. Realize true democracy.

(二) 重新制定憲法,保障基本人權,成立向國會負責且具有效能的政府,實行真正的民主政治。

3. As a member of the free world, rejoin the United Nations and establish diplomatic ties with all peace-loving countries, and work together towards world peace.


B: Our Principles:


1. Following the rules of democracy, hold direct election to choose the country’s leader. He is not to be an idol lionized by the people. Nor is he omnipotent. There will not be any unquestionable doctrines. He will be a public servant monitored by the Parliament.

(一) 遵循民主常軌,由普選產生國家元首。他不是被萬人崇拜的偶像,也不是無所不能的領袖。更沒 有不容批評的教條。他只是受國會監督與控制,熱心為民眾服務的公僕。

2. Protect the freedoms to assemble, form civil society, and express. Ensure that the opposition party can obtain legal status. Realize party politics.

(二) 保障集會、結社和發表的自由,使反對黨獲得合法的地位,實行政黨政治。

3. Abolish privileges. Put an end to corruption. Clean up politics. Improve the treatment of soldiers, public servants, and teachers.

(三) 消滅特權,革除貪污,整肅政風,改善軍公教人員的待遇。

4. Establish a sound system for selecting civil servants. Use scientific management to improve the efficiency of the government. Ensure that politics is clean and fair.

(四) 樹立健全的文官制度,實行科學管理,提高行政的效能,確立廉潔公正的政治。

5. Ensure independent judicature (or jurisdiction). Abolish regulations that invade human rights. Prohibit unlawful arrests, inquisition, and punishments.

(五) 保障司法獨立,廢除侵犯人權的法規,嚴禁非法的逮捕,審訊與刑罰。

6. Eliminate all special agents. Following the norm of democratic countries, regulate the status and responsibilities of the police. Foster a law-abiding spirit among the people.

(六) 廢止特務制度,依民主國家常軌,規定警察的地位和職務,並樹立人民的守法精神。

7. Ensure people’s freedom to communicate here and abroad, freedom to move, and freedom to travel. Maintain an open society.

(七) 確保人民對國內外通信、遷徙與旅行的自由,維護開放的社會。

8. Under the principle of defense, downsize the military, and ensure the status and livelihood of retired soldiers. In terms of economy, due to the large reduction of military expense, we can utilize resources and speed up the growth of economy by following long-term goals and planning. We will use democracy to allocate economic rights, and abolish privileges that benefit certain people and social class; we will ensure equal opportunities for all. We will establish a direct taxation system; we will increase graduated income tax and inheritance tax to make the disparity of wealth disappear. For bringing substantial meaning to human dignity and personal freedom, we plan to expand the productivity of our country, combat unemployment and raise the living standards of the people. We will reform the means of production in traditional farming villages and challenge their belief that keeping warm and full is enough. We will bring science to the farming society, mechanize and modernize it. In the past, Chiang’s regime invested blindly, unreasonably interfered with the affairs of companies, supported capitalists with low wages, exploited farmers with the “fertilizers for grains” plan, and increased people’s burden by raising sales and other taxes. We will completely solve these problems.

(八) 以自衛為原則,裁減軍隊,並保障退伍軍人的地位和生活。在經濟方面,由於國防負擔大減,我們可以根據長遠的目標和計劃,充分利用人力物力,加速經濟的成長。我們將以民主方式分配經濟權利,廢除個人和階級經濟特權,保障機會均等。我們將建立直接稅制,加強累進所得稅與遺產稅,消除貧富懸殊的現象。我們計劃擴大國家的生產力,消滅失業,普遍提高國民生活水準,使人類的尊嚴和個人的自由具有實質意義。我們將改造農村傳統的生產力式與維護溫飽的觀念,建設科學化、機械化、現代化的農村社會。過去蔣政權盲目投資、無理干涉企業,以低工資支持資本家、以肥料換穀辦法剝削農民、以消費稅和戶稅增加一般大眾負擔所造成的各種問題,我們將予以徹底解決。

We faithfully believe that the purpose of society is to uphold personal dignity, and improve the welfare of the people. We therefore oppose the fear and avarice Chiang’s regime generates (or engenders) and its destructive acts to impede the development of solidarity. We will build a trusting and loving society, so that everyone can live a complete, active, and happy life.


For many years, there are only two value judgments: one is that of the extremely right Nationalists, and one is that of the extremely left Chinese Communists. Real knowledge cannot be applied to maximize benefits for the society. We must abandon these two chains; we must give up our reliance on the Nationalist and the Communist parties. Away from the Nationalists and the Communists, Taiwan must choose a third path----the path of self-salvation.


Let’s end these dark days! Let us summon all those who are unwilling to be governed by the communists, and also reluctant to be destroyed by Chiang Kai-shek. Let’s unite and fight to end Chiang’s despotic regime and build a free nation.


Brethren, who love democracy and freedom, do not despair on account of the dark reality that you see. Let us tell you that the situations in Taiwan and abroad are more and more advantageous, and the strength of our self-salvation is speedily growing. Our comrades are in government institutions, local groups, military, businesses, newspaper agencies, schools, factories, and farming villages. Our organization has been in close contact with comrades in the United States, Japan, Canada, France, and Germany; we have garnered ardent support. Once the opportunity comes, our comrades will appear at every corner in Taiwan, and work with you hand in hand.


Brethren! Victory is ahead of us. Let’s unite!


This is our emblem. From today on, it will appear in front of you at any time anywhere. Remember, when you see it, know that this organization is rapidly expanding, and that this movement is powerfully unfolding.


Translated by Li Ming-Juinn & William Wei-Lun Hsu