In those years,
How many mothers
Wept at night
For their children
In bonds on this island?
Setting foot on Burning Island, and listen to the whispering waves, Try to understand the feeling of isolation, the confinement of body and soul.
The 32-hectare plot in the northeast corner of the Green Island, isolated on the sea, was Vagrants Shelter during Japanese colonial rule; and it became a major prison in the White Terror period immediately after the ROC government moved to Taiwan in 1949. New Life Correction Center and Oasis Villa were set to confine political prisoners. When martial law was lifted, it was became Green Island Prison under the Ministry of Justice and then the military’s moral training center for offenders.
Green Island, once known as Burning Island, is 33 kilometers to the main land of Taiwan and has an area of 16 square kilometers. It was inhabited over 4,000 years ago by prehistoric human, then renamed as Green Island in 1949, and administered by Taitung County. Chinese from Taiwan and Hsiao Liu Chiou Island settled some 200 years ago in succession, forming Kungkuan, Chungliao, Nanliao, Wenchuan and Liuma Gulley settlements.
Green Island hosted Burning Island Vagrants Shelter during Japanese rule, New Life Correction Center in the 1950’s, Oasis Villa for political prisoners during Taiwan’s authoritarian rule, and it was still a prison island after the end of martial law. Now it is a relic of history and site of Green Island White Terror Memorial Park. Walking into the historical sites and standing in the worn buildings, one’s heart beats to the rhythm of the rising and falling waves…
Green Island White Terror Memorial Park used to be a prison for political prisoners. This past makes it a “negative tourism” site that induces reflection on human values. Visiting this park, people from home and abroad enjoy its natural setting, but witness Taiwan’s hard road to democracy as well.