Formosa: On Their Own

No banquet under heaven is endless.

—Chinese proverb

Its name means "beautiful," but its history has been hard and ugly. The mountainous island of Formosa was devastated by 50 years of Japanese occupation, and it fared little better under the Chinese after they regained control in 1945. Its nadir came in 1950 when Chiang Kai-shek landed on the island with 500,000 beaten soldiers and 2,000,000 refugees from the Communist mainland, straining the unhappy country to the breaking point.

After bloody rioting, the newcomers and the 5,000,000 natives settled down together in an uneasy...

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