Corruption and the Use of Technical Experts in Taiwan 1946

Corruption was one of the biggest target of complaints by supporters and sworn enemies of the Chinese republic in wartime and early postwar China. This was also true for the new Chinese regime in Taiwan after Japan’s defeat and contributed to the anger among Taiwanese who sparked the 2/28 incident in 1947. Here is one example of an investigation into corruption reported in this exchange between a council member and director of Inspection Bureau of the Department of Civil Affairs in Taiwan, May 1946:

“How many persons are in the Bureau?”

“There are 114 persons, of whom 23 are Japanese.”

“Are they employed on the basis of technical ability?”

“Yes.”

“Is there a person named Fan Chin-tang in the office?”

“No. He has resigned.”

“Is there a person named Hsieh Chin-chiu in the office?”

“No…yes.”

“What qualification has this person?”

“This person is a graduate of Chekiang University.”

“What official rank does this person hold?”

“Technical expert.”

“Is she your concubine?”

“Yes.”

“Fan Chin-tang, with thirty years’ technical experience, was dismissed. Why is his salary allotment still requested from the senior office?”

“Salaries for March have not yet been paid.”

“Yes. You requested the Finance Department to allot salaries for 186 persons, while in reality your staff consists of only 46 persons. The average salary is 1,200 old Taiwan dollars per person. Your total income from November through March has been 1,000,000 old Taiwan dollars.”1


  1. Tse-han Lai, Ramon H. Myers, and Wei Wou A Tragic Beginning: The Taiwan Uprising of February 28, 1947 (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1991), 74. Original source is cited as Formosa: Internal Affairs, 1945-1949, Reel 1, Enclosure no. 25 (Nov. 1, 1946, report), p. 35. Bibliography gives full citation as: United States State Department Central Files. Formosa: Internal Affairs, 1945-1949. Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1985. Reel 1 (“Political Affairs Reports for 1946 and January 1947”)  

2 Comments

  1. The primary source they’re quoting from is cited in the endnotes as “Formosa: Internal Affairs, 1945-1949, Reel 1, Enclosure no. 25 (Nov. 1, 1946, report), p. 35.” The full citation from the bibliography is United States State Department Central Files. Formosa: Internal Affairs, 1945-1949. Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1985. Reel 1 (“Political Affairs Reports for 1946 and January 1947”).

    By the way, the second author of A Tragic Beginning is Ramon H. Myers.

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