A Special Intermittence and Continuity in Local History: The Chinese Diaspora and Their Hometown in Battlefield Quemoy during 1949-1960s

in Journal of Chinese Overseas
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Abstract

From 1949, Quemoy became the battlefront between the warring Nationalists and Communists as well as the frontline between Cold War nations. Under military rule, social and ideological control suppressed the community power of traditional clans and severed their connection with fellow countrymen living abroad. For 43 long years up until 1992, Quemoy was transformed from an open hometown of the Chinese diaspora into a closed battlefield and forbidden zone. During the war period, most of the Quemoy diasporic Chinese paid close attention to the state of their hometown including the security of their family members and property. In the early 1950s, they tried to keep themselves informed of the situation in Quemoy through any available medium and build up a new channel of remittances. Furthermore, as formal visits of the overseas Chinese were an important symbol of legitimacy for the KMT, Quemoy emigrants had been invited by the military authority to visit their hometown since 1950. This was in fact the only channel for the Chinese diaspora to go home. Using official files, newspapers and records of oral histories, this article analyzes the relationship between the Chinese diaspora and the battlefield, Quemoy, and takes a look at the interactions between family and clan members of the Chinese diaspora during 1949-1960s. It is a discussion of a special intermittence and continuity of local history.

A Special Intermittence and Continuity in Local History: The Chinese Diaspora and Their Hometown in Battlefield Quemoy during 1949-1960s

in Journal of Chinese Overseas

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References

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  • 4

    During the Korean War period in 1951the CIA established the West Enterprise Company (WEC) in Taiwan to support the guerrilla force. In Quemoy the West Enterprise Company tried to organize the Anti-communist National Salvation Army” (guerilla) and spent 70 million US dollars to buy light weaponry. The guerrilla force started to attack the Nanri Island on October 10 1952 (Hu Lian pp. 59-65). The West Enterprise Company left Quemoy in 1954.

  • 7

    Yeoh Tiong Lay said “In 1966Encik Yang Razaly the District Officer of Kuala Selangor and Tan Sri Jamil Rais Chief Secretary to the Government invited me to be a member of the Malaysian Contingent attending the Far East Jamboree to be held at the Sun Moon Lake District in Taiwan. We were also invited to meet President Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek and other Government dignitaries such as Bai Chuin Shee Wong Jek Chiang Ching Kuo and Ho Yin Ching. Chiang Ching Kuo was the Defense Minister of Taiwan then so we requested his permission to visit Kinmen Island. A state of war had been declared there and foreigners were discouraged from visiting the island. To our surprise the Defense Minister not only approved our request but also sent a military plane to take about forty of us to the island and back. On reaching Kinmen I did not follow the main delegation on the official visit but with the use of a specially allocated military jeep I visited my uncle at the old family home at Au Bee Tong Poh. Like all Chinese extended families there was a large congregation of relatives to welcome me. My second uncle second and third aunts were all over ninety years old. Even though I was born and raised in Malaysia and had never met any of them the kinship was very close and strong. I stayed only for a few hours on Kinmen Island but I was overwhelmed by the warm reception I received from all my relatives their concern over our welfare in the Nanyang and their intimate kinship. Too soon I had to bid them a tearful farewell. The first visit to my roots in Kinmen was a truly memorable one which I will cherish forever” (Yeoh Tiong Lay 2003. The Yeoh Tiong Lay Story. KL: YTL Institute pp. 110-11).

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