- - Thursday, December 19, 2013

A 30,000 square-foot monument honoring fallen agents who had been sent to spy on Taiwan opened recently to the public at the command headquarters area of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) outside Beijing.

The Western Hills Unknown Heroes’ Commemorative Square was built by the Liaison Division of the PLA General Political Department to pay tribute to spies sent to Taiwan in 1949.

According to an official media report announcing the monument’s opening, the PLA sent more than 1,500 spies to Taiwan, which in 1949 was under the control of the defeated Kuomintang (KMT) government led by Chiang Kai-shek.

Those agents were active in Taiwan for several years, but their identities and activities were betrayed by turncoats in the early 1950s, according to a report by the official China National Radio.

The spy ring then was broken by KMT counterintelligence agents. According to the Communist Party-run press, more than “1,100 of them were publicly executed by the KMT authorities.”

Inscribed on the monument’s wall are the names of 846 “martyrs who sacrificed their lives in Taiwan.” State-run media do not explain why only 846 of the 1,100 executed spies are deemed “martyrs.” The reports also do not mention the other 400 or so agents who were not executed by the KMT.

According to China National Radio, “much empty space is reserved on the wall for more augmentation of more martyrs’ names once they are discovered in the future.”

The monument apparently has been planned for a long time. It faces east, symbolizing China’s resolve to “liberate” Taiwan, which lies to the east of the Chinese coast.

Communist founder Mao Zedong wrote a commemorative inscription specifically for the fallen spies before he died in 1976, and his words are featured prominently on the monument: “The lonely [Taiwan] island is beaten by formidable waves, which foretell a new dawn over the ocean’s horizon. Hidden in the tiger’s lair are our loyal souls, who are welcoming the early arrival of the dawn’s light.”

Also inscribed on the monument are a few commemorative phrases for “revolutionary inspiration,” including “Loyal Souls,” “Glorious Shadows,” “Motherland Dear As Family,” “Fidelity and Righteousness,” and “Chasing the Dream.”

The monument is intended for use by China’s communist government as an “educational base” for indoctrination of “patriotism and revolutionary legacy.”


Several Taiwanese news outlets reported Dec. 16 that China and Taiwan recently held secret talks about swapping jailed spies. But “spy swap” doesn’t accurately describe the topic of discussion.

China wanted Taiwan to release Maj. Gen. Lo Hsien-che, a former Taiwanese intelligence chief who is serving a life sentence for spying for Beijing. Taipei said no.

Taiwan wanted China to release two Taiwanese intelligence agents, Col. Chu Kung-hsun and Col. Hsu Kuo-chang, who were kidnapped by Chinese agents in Vietnam in 2006. Beijing said no.

And so, the secret talks broke down.

China turned Lo into its agent while he was serving as a defense attache in Thailand, and he received nearly $1 million from Beijing for his perfidy.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected] and @Yu_Miles.

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