Sunday, March 25, 2018

Camphor Press: The Jing Affair

The Jing Affair
D.J. Spencer
Camphor Press, February 2018, 304 pages
NT$181 (e-book)
NT$452 (paperback)

Camphor Press has come out with a steady stream of good stuff -- The Jing Affair is their latest entry. Written by an incredibly knowledgeable Foreign Service officer on Taiwan, The Jing Affair is a thriller in the 1960s style....
As American surveillance reports come in of troop build-ups near the Chinese coast, Taiwan’s KMT leaders are seen gathering at a secret base in the mountains. With all signs pointing to an imminent betrayal of Taiwan to China by secret police chief General Jing, the call goes out to implement Contingency Plan S; long-dormant, pro-independence Taiwanese leaders and fighters assemble in the hills, while out in the Taiwan Strait aboard a U.S. Navy carrier, Taiwanese-born air force pilot Johnny Hsiao prepares for a daring undercover mission.

War comes to Taiwan on land, sea, and air. Clashes between Chinese and U.S. forces threaten to escalate into full-blown war, while Taiwanese are pitched against fellow Taiwanese. And the old tiger flag of the Formosa Republic will once more fly proudly into battle.

First published in 1965 under an alias, The Jing Affair is an audacious book. Dedicated to the victims of Taiwan’s White Terror, it spares no punches. The senile puppet president – the “Old Man” in the story – is a barely disguised then-president Chiang Kai-shek. The villainous General Jing has significant overlap with Chiang Ching-kuo, whom some feared would sell Taiwan out to Beijing (secret unification talks had, in fact, been held).
In addition to its compelling story which I am reading in snatches since I don't want it to end, the book also offers a rich depiction of Taiwan and the desire of its people to live in an independent state, their seething hatred of the KMT, and the ethnic and politic structure of the island in the 1960s. Go thou, and read!
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