Geography Reference
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murder, and its commander, General Wang Ching-hsu, publicly specu-
lated that Chen had committed suicide out of feelings of guilt for his
supposed crimes. But the public in Taiwan was not fooled, and its sym-
pathies were clearly with the Chens:
As details of the Chen case emerged, sympathy for the Chen family
swept Taiwan. Virtually no one believed the Garrison Command's
version of events. Realizing they had a public relations disaster on their
hands, KMTofficials appointed a special task force to investigate Chen's
death. At the same time, hard-liners in the government turned to
another overused tactic, cracking down on the press. Warnings went
out to newspapers that while they could report on the case, they had
best avoid speculation on the cause of death. AIT officials learned that
James Soong, the ham-handed director of the Government Information
Office, personally telephoned the Hong Kong bureau chief of a foreign
wire service to advise him to have his reporters back off the story.
(Kaplan 1992, 309)
The thug or thugs who murdered Chen Wen-chen will live on in his-
tory in anonymous ignominy, but the professor himself is well remem-
bered as a martyr in Taiwan's struggle for democratization and human
rights. Today the Professor Chen Wen-chen Memorial Foundation
awards scholarships to college and university students in North
America and promotes studies on Taiwanese history, culture, and lan-
guage. It operates a website at
The most spectacular and high-profile political murder of the 1980s
was the carefully planned assassination of Chinese-American muck-
raking author Henry Liu (Liu I-liang), who was killed on American
soil in California by Taiwan-based organized crime thugs operating
in collusion with rogue elements and officials in the Kuomintang and
the Kuomintang government.
Henry Liu was born in mainland China and fled to Taiwan with the
Nationalists in 1949, but by the late 1960s he had grown disillusioned
with them and became a prominent critic of the Kuomintang. He
emigrated to the United States and became an American citizen, and
there he seems to have believed that his U.S. citizenship made him
impervious to the Kuomintang's wrath. He eventually turned his writ-
ing skills to a biography of Chiang Ching-kuo (1910-1988), Chiang
Kai-shek's son and president of the Republic of China in Taiwan from
1978 until his death from old age and diabetes in 1988. Henry Liu was
more of a freelance scandal digger than a serious historian or biogra-
pher, and his topic on Chiang Ching-kuo is an amateurish hatchet job.
Nonetheless, Henry Liu's biting style and spicy tone raised some
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