Taiwan Thirty-Eight Years Later . . .

Taipei finally gets around to lifting martial law

The year was 1949. Rapidly losing his battle with Mao Tse-tung for the Chinese mainland, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek sent his son Chiang Ching-kuo to Taiwan. Strictly policing the island, the younger Chiang helped secure it for more than 1 million Nationalist refugees against both Communist infiltrators and the 7 million less-than-welcoming native Taiwanese. On May 19, 1949, martial law was imposed.

Last week, 38 years later, military rule was finally lifted. It was abolished by Chiang Ching-kuo, who succeeded his father as leader of Taiwan in 1975. According to a Western observer in Taipei, the ailing, 77-year-old Chiang "apparently realizes his...

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