Vol. 15



c. 1945; from Henan Province to Xiamen, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China, and Changhua, Formosa(1)

I still remember that dreadful day — the day when I ran miles and miles across China. I was still sleeping when Mama shook me awake. “They’re coming,” she said. “The Communists are coming.”

I gasped. I knew what that meant. My family and I were part of the Kuomintang, which meant that we were against the rule of Communism and believed in free rights. My family lived in Henan, a Chinese province. We knew there was a civil war between Kuomintang and the Communists. My parents had prepared to flee when the time came. The time never came. The Communists killed my Baba in battle, leaving me fatherless. We then decided to send my younger brother, Yu Quan Sun, to my grandmother’s house to be safe, since he was not old enough to take the long journey.

I was very scared of what was to come. Mama and I were the only ones going. Our family — one of the few families we knew that believed in freedom — was shamed and poor. We started our journey from Henan to Xiamen on a horse, but when we ran out of food we had to eat the horse. Mama always told me she was full and would give me whatever food she had, but I soon came to realize that Mama was soon going to die if she didn’t eat. Day by day we trudged along forests and rivers, eating what we could. Days became weeks, and weeks became months. I started to lose hope.

When we finally made it to Xiamen, there were Communists trying to find escapees. I thanked the skies that we got across — safe onto the boat. On the boat Mama said, “Yu Hsueh Gang, things will not always be hard, and they will definitely not always be easy, but you must stay strong, my boy.” Ten-year-old me just did not understand. I tried hard to be happy without my brother, Quan Sun.

Then one day I woke up to the beautiful coast of Formosa, now called Taiwan. I saw the dancing wind like nymphs playing in the water. I wished Quan Sun and Baba could be here to see. The breeze seemed to lift my worries. Hand in hand with Mama, I stepped out of the boat. I felt strong, I felt brave, I felt like me.

Who am I? I am a Taiwanese survivor of Communist rule. But more important, I am someone who has fought for my freedom. I am Yu Hsueh Gang.

David Jen, grandson of Yu Hsueh Gang; New Jersey, USA


1. Formosa is now called “Taiwan.”



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