On 23 December 1979, Shih Ming-teh escaped into the night as the Kuo-
mintang's dragnet was spread. After this all of Taiwan was on the look-
out for him, and a reward of 500,000 NT for information leading to his
arrest was put up. In a few days this reward was raised to a million
NT, and then to two million, and then 2.5 million NT. Everyone was jit-
tery and fearful of their own shadows.
One day, perhaps 15 December, the publication manager of the Bible
Society, one Rev. Chao Chen-erh, came to see me at the General Assembly.
He closed my office door and said quietly, “Shih Ming-teh is desperate
and has nobody to turn to. I hope you can find a way to help him.”
I did not immediately respond to his entreaty. I told Rev. Chao, “Let
me think about it.” If it were merely my own personal destiny at stake
here, this would not have mattered much. But I was also responsible
for more than eight hundred Presbyterian churches and 160,000
believers throughout Taiwan. I paced back and forth in my office for
more than ten minutes, thinking and praying.
Shih Jui-yun, my assistant, reminded me, “If Shih Ming-teh is arrested
again, this time he will be sentenced to death.” My heart skipped a beat.
The situation is indeed serious, I thought to myself. Shih Ming-teh was
not facing any ordinary punishment. He was facing death.
In Christian faith there is an inescapable responsibility to love and
protect those in the midst of affliction and suffering. All other Christian
duties are relatively secondary to this. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Of all the
types of love, the most important is the ability to forsake one's own life
for others or for friends. What is more, Shih Ming-teh had been desig-
nated by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. He had
been using non-violent means in pursuit of political ideals and had been
struggling mightily for Taiwan for many years. All the more reason to
help him, I concluded.
I said to Reverend Chao and Shih Jui-yun, “Alright.” (Gao 2001,
With Reverend Kao's help, Shih Ming-teh eluded Kuomintang cap-
ture for a few weeks. His American wife, Linda Arrigo (Ai Linda),
whom James Soong (Song Chuyu) once compared to Mikhail Borodin
(a Soviet Comintern agent who attempted with varying degrees of suc-
cess to spread communism in Mexico, the United States, the United
Kingdom, and China), was deported in mid-December. Linda later
returned in the 1990s and today still lives in Taiwan. Meanwhile her
arch-critic, James Soong, has largely faded into obscurity.
For a few years, until the full truth about the incident was known,
majority public opinion in Taiwan believed that entire incident had
been instigated by seditious rabble-rousers and troublemakers.