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The humanity of military dependents’ village

As the seeds fall, they bloom affections

In 1949, Taiwan and China were in the same boat during the war. Many Mainlanders migrated to Taiwan in different times, different groups and from different places and settled down in Taiwan, Jinmen, Mazu, and Penghu, crossing the Black Ditch.

Nobody could predict the outcomes. Both the Mainlander soldiers and civilians thought that they were just living in Taiwan temporarily. However, they nearly spent their whole lives here. The Nationalist Government led by Chiang Kai-shek settled the soldiers and their families in quarters scattered in different corners in Taiwan, from north to south. Later, their settlements became villages, called military dependents' village.

At that time, bamboo fences were installed around the military dependents' villages to separate them symbolically from the Minnan and Hakka communities. Especially after the 228 Incident happened in 1947, an unstable but invisible atmosphere permeated the island.

In Pingtung County, there are many military dependents' villages, most of which centered on Pingtung City. The area along Cingdao Road, where many the troops of General Sun Li-ren's resided, has become a famous resort for backpackers. The minor troops and late comers were scattered in Ligang Township, Hengchun Town, Gaoshu Township, and more. Many Mainlanders settled in Hakka communities, among which Chaojhou was one of the most popular one.

As to Dingyuan and Singuo communities in Ligang Township, they were formed by the Nationalist armies retreating from Yunnan and Burma. Meanwhile, Zihyou Sincun in Pingtung City, Fongwei community in Chaojhou, and Hupan community in Gaohu Township were military dependents' villages formed by people migrating there from Dachen Island and Yijianghsan. In Pingtung County, there were about 20 communities founded by people from Dachen.

Generally speaking, families of the air force officers and soldiers occupied most of the military dependents' quarters. For example, Kuangsie Sincun, Chongde Sincun, and Dapeng Sincun in Pingtung City; Chaojhou Sincun in Chaojhou Town; Gonghe Sincun in Donggang Township; and more, totaled 25, were mainly air force dependents' villages. There were only three army dependents' villages (Note 1).

Before 1990, on identity cards, there were remarks signifying the identities of Mainlanders who migrated to Pingtung. However, since 1991 such ethnic remarks have been removed. Only the holders' birthplaces are printed on them. Therefore, the population census of Mainlanders was conducted before 1990 only.

In 1949, about 30 thousand Mainlanders moved into Pingtung. Most of them were male. In 1970s, the migration of Mainlanders into Pingtung reached its apex, totaling about 100 thousand. Later, due to marriage and employment, the second generation Mainlanders moved away from Pingtung gradually, resulting in the rapid population decline (Note 2).

At that time, the living conditions of the Mainlanders living in military dependents' villages were comparatively even. The wages of air force and navy were higher than the army, whose dependents lived harsher lives. Most of them opened noodles stalls with their special recipes from their homes in northern China to earn extra money for their families. The beef noodles sold in military dependents' villages were very especially delicious. Later, it has become a special dish in Taiwan.
 

Note 1: Please consult Annals of Pingtung 2014

Note 2: Please consult Annals of Pingtung 2014