A small, lush, tropical island off the south-east coast of Taiwan
that from 1951 was used as a place of incarceration for political prisoners during the Chiang-Kai-shek dictatorship and beyond. The last political prisoners left as late as in 1990. (There’s still a high-security prison for regular criminals on the island, allegedly also housing some high-level Mafiosi.)
Today there is a large memorial park in the north of the island and the political prison building with the Orwellian name “Oasis Villa”, built in 1970 after a prisoner uprising, can be visited. Its four wings on two floors house 52 cells. Inside is an exhibition about the former political prison regime. Labels and texts are also given in English.
The island can be reached either by ferry in 50 minutes from Fugang, just north of Taitung, or by small aircraft from Taitung Airport in 12 minutes. Both make it possible to do Green Island as a day excursion but if you also want to make use of the island’s hot springs and the excellent snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities you can find accommodation on Green Island.
The open-air parts of the Green Island White Terror Memorial Park are freely accessible at all times, the museum in the former Oasis Villa political prison is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission is free.
Green Island would have been a key destination on my planned 2020 trip to Taiwan
I was forced to cancel because of the coronavirus pandemic, and still couldn’t do in 2021. If I manage it in 2022, then this chapter will be properly expanded and a full description provided. For now this short stub has to stand in.
The photos are courtesy (and copyright) of Cheryl Robbins.
- Green Island 01 - prison building
- Green Island 02 - outer wall and barbed wire
- Green Island 03 - cell block
- Green Island 04 - projection
- Green Island 05 - cell doors
- Green Island 06 - card board cut-outs of prisoners
- Green Island 07 - library
- Green Island 09 - re-education
- Green island 08 - workshop