Source: NYT (6/12/22)
They Inhabited Separate Worlds in Taiwan. Decades Later, They Collided in a California Church.
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The 68-year-old suspect in a May mass shooting harbored resentment dating back to his formative years in Taiwan.
By Amy Qin, Jill Cowan, Shawn Hubler and Amy Chang Chien
David Chou and Pastor Billy Chang spent their whole lives forging parallel paths. They were born in early 1950s Taiwan, grew up just miles apart during martial law and later rebuilt their lives in the United States.
But over several decades, they carried with them vastly different memories — and views — of the island of their birth.
Mr. Chou was the son of parents who fled mainland China following the 1949 Communist revolution, part of a mass exodus of Chinese who established an authoritarian government-in-exile in Taiwan. Though he was born on the island, he and his parents were “mainlanders” devoted to the Chinese motherland and saw Taiwan as forever part of China.
Pastor Chang’s relatives were local Taiwanese who had spent centuries on the island. At home, he spoke Taiwanese Hokkien, a language that for decades was banned in public spaces. Pastor Chang grew to believe that despite Beijing’s longstanding claims, the self-ruled island had its own identity, separate from China.
In May, the lives of the two men collided in a quiet retirement community in Southern California. Authorities say that Mr. Chou, 68 — armed with two guns, four Molotov cocktails and a deep-seated rage against Taiwanese people — opened fire inside the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church as members gathered in honor of Pastor Chang, 67. Continue reading