The China Post News Staff
World Freedom Day was celebrated in Taipei last Friday. The World League for Freedom and Democracy, formerly known as the World Anti-Communist League, held its annual convention to mark the return of ��anti-communist heroes�� to Taiwan from Korea in 1953. President Ma Ying-jeou attended the convention to deliver the keynote speech. More than 60 delegates from 20 countries, most of them lawmakers, participated in the event.
Altogether 22,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army taken prisoner during the Korean War (1950-1953) were delivered to Taiwan, of whom 14,000 arrived in Keelung on Jan. 23, 1953 and were hailed as anti-communist heroes. President Chiang Kai-shek subsequently proclaimed Jan. 23 World Freedom Day to honor these former prisoners of war. North Korea invaded the South on June 25, 1950. Two days later, on June 27, U.S. President Harry S. Truman declared a neutralization of the Taiwan Strait and resumed American military support to the Republic of China to fend off attacks from the Chinese mainland. Taiwan was made secure.
In the meantime, General Douglas A. MacArthur, commander-in-chief of the U.N. Command in Korea, moved the U.N. troops close to the Yalu River, which separates China and North Korea. Mao Zedong sent a People’s Volunteer Army to the Korean Peninsula to fight the ��War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.�� The U.N. forces retreated south to the 38th Parallel, and an armistice was concluded on July 27, 1952. Most of the 200,000 troops Mao sent to Korea were soldiers of Chiang Kai-shek’s army, who surrendered to the People’s Liberation Army during the Chinese Civil War. Mao wanted to kill them all, and so sent them to Korea as cannon fodder. Among them, however, were a large number of Taiwanese youths abducted by Chiang to bring his army to full strength and then were ordered to go to the mainland and fight the Chinese communists. Their commanders surrendered, and remained in command of their units. Mao took advantage of the Korean War to get rid of them. So, these former soldiers of Chiang’s army surrendered to the U.N. forces once they had arrived in Korea. When the war ended, 22,000 of these prisoners, including hundreds of shanghaied Taiwanese youths, chose to come to Taiwan instead of going back to China. They chose ��freedom�� in Taiwan.