China, Taiwan: Chin Yu Hsu

My story is nothing. The spirit of those times is very important. I often think about how suffering can make humanity shine.

— Chin Yu Hsu

Hsu Chin Yu grew up in Taiwan during the period of the Japanese colonization. In the White Terror period in the 1950s, when many intellectuals, workers and peasants were charged as spies, communist bandits and traitors, she entered a reading club, and took part in the labor movement. Later she was arrested and imprisoned for 15 years, which changed her life.

As a child, Hsu Chin Yu learnt what it meant to be a second-class citizen. In the early years after the liberation of Taiwan in 1947, the nationalist government arrested many civilians. After the February 28 incident, about 10,000 people were arrested or killed. Hsu Chin Yu entered a reading club and this was a turning point for her. Though she was shy and introverted, she took part in the labor movement organized by the post and telecommunications labor union fighting on the issue of the rights of Taiwanese staff. At the age of 30, in March 1950, she was arrested and involved in the case regarding Taiwan post and telecommunications general office. She was in prison for 15 years. After her release, Hsu was still monitored and harassed and lived under great practical and psychological pressure. Later she met Gu Jinliang, another victim suffering from the White Terror. They married, and set up a preserved-egg firm in Pingtung despite employment difficulties and obstacles. They persisted in their ideas and aided fellow victims who had been in prison. Their firm turned into a revolutionary cause through which they realized their ideals for labor. Hsu contributed to the compensation from their White Terror years and founded the Gu Jinliang Cultural Foundation to promote cross-strait youth cultural exchange and literary activities between Taiwan and mainland China.

Gu Jinliang Cultural Foundation