BYU Asian Studies Journal


Harrison Paul


BYU Asian Studies, Taiwanese, resistance


Sometimes, it is best not to speak the truth—at least not directly. Under an authoritarian regime, the truth—whether of events or opinions—often hurts the one who reveals it more than anyone else. For this reason, writers throughout the world have long employed evasive writing tactics not only to avoid censorship of their ideas but also to escape imprisonment or execution at the government’s hand. Taiwanese writers under the period of Nationalist-imposed martial law were no different. Nativist writers, characterized by “use of the Taiwanese dialect, depiction of the plight of country folks or small-town dwellers in economic difficulty, and resistance of the imperialist presence in Taiwan” (Chang 149), resorted to evasive tactics to express their opinions. They, along with others whose views conflicted with government ideas or whose opinions were seen as challenging to the ruling party, concealed the true meaning of their words within stories that were innocent and unassuming on the surface. Although some of their works appear to be simple stories about life in Taiwan, authors like Chen Yingzhen and Huang Chunming placed hidden messages in their writing that criticized the oppressiveness of the Nationalist regime, accused them of deceiving the populace, and opposed the Nationalist Party (KMT) as the rightful government of Taiwan