After world war II
In 1945, Taiwan returned to China. However, the Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek lost the civil war in Mainland China and retreated to Taiwan. In 1937, the brutal event, February 28 Incident happened and thousands of Taiwanese were killed by the new government.
Following the incident was a long time of oppressing ruling, called “the white terror period.” Many members Presbyterian churches suffered from panic and some were even persecuted.
It is the tradition for Presbyterian churches to use the language of Taiwanese to preach. However, when the Nationalist party was in power, it was hard for Presbyterian churches to preach because the government’s suppressing policy of “Mandarin only”.
On August 16, 1977, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) issued “A Declaration of Human Rights” that advocated for Taiwan’s independence and calls upon the government to make Taiwan an independent country. The declaration was poorly received and condemned.
In 1979, one of the biggest clashes after the February 28 Incident broke out in the biggest city in south Taiwan, later known as the Kaohsiung Incident or the Formosa Incident. Chun-Ming Kao, a minister of the Presbyterian church, was later put in jail for hiding Shih Ming-teh, the leader of the Incident. In prison, Kao wrote down his concerns over the fate of the Presbyterian Church. He was worried that the church would become divided and capitulated to the government out of fear. If that really happened, Kao feared that the spirit of the Presbyterian Church would be entirely lost.
Now Taiwan’s Presbyterian Church serve people all over Taiwan through medical care, education and community service on a great scale, inheriting the spirit of the missionaries first came to Taiwan 150 years ago.