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Thursday, March 22: Return to China or "Return to Taiwan": The Chinese POWs Who Derailed the Korean War Peace Talks (Washington, DC)

What Talk
When Mar 22, 2012
from 04:00 pm to 05:30 pm
Where 5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
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Hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

David Cheng Chang, postdoctoral fellow at the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University will give a presentation based on his recent work entitled Return to China or “Return to Taiwan”: The Chinese POWs Who Derailed the Korean War Peace Talks.

 At the end of the Korean War, only one third of the approximately 21,000 Chinese prisoners of war were repatriated to Communist China; the remaining two thirds, or more than 14,300 prisoners, went to Nationalist Taiwan in a propaganda coup. These Chinese POWs were at the center of contention in the second half of the war. Utilizing previously untapped archival sources and oral history interviews in the U.S., Taiwan, and China, this study examines who these prisoners were, why and how they, individually and collectively, made divergent decisions in the contentious process of “voluntary repatriation.” These prisoners, situated at the intersection of macro geopolitical powers and micro prison camp struggles, caught in the crossfire of ideological battles, frustrated and aided by contingency, nevertheless took actions that derailed the peace talks, and consequently changed history.

Joining Chang on the panel is Wilson Center Fellow Yafeng Xia.

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