Source: Taipei Times (1/15/23)
Taiwan in Time: Writer on death row
Condemned for masterminding a kidnapping, award-winning author Tang Chen-huan’s first piece — a heart-rending letter to his young son — was published on Jan. 18, 1972
By Han Cheung / Staff reporter
Titled “Confessions of a Father on Death Row,” (一個死刑犯父親的心聲), Tang Chen-huan’s (唐震寰) literary debut was one of sorrow and regret.
It ran in the literary supplement of the China Daily News (中華日報) on Jan. 18, 1972, and marked the beginning of Tang’s literary career, which included several awards and a movie adaptation. He was the nation’s first inmate to pay taxes on book royalties.
The well-liked former junior high school teacher was condemned for kidnapping the children of a businessman who had cheated him out of a large sum of money. Although he returned the kids unharmed, such crimes were punishable by death during the Martial Law era.
“I wrote for nearly 20 hours a day, because I didn’t know if I would be dragged out and executed when the morning came,” he writes in a Xiangguang Magazine (香光莊嚴) article in 1996. “As long as I could still breathe, I wanted to write down all the words I wanted to say … I hoped that those in precarious situations, or those who sought revenge, could see me as an example and refrain from doing something they would regret forever.” Continue reading