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Authors

Cynthia S. Lee

Abstract

In October 1984, two Taiwanese hit men quietly stole into the Daly City garage of Henry Liu, a Chinese American journalist and historian, and fired three fatal bullets into Liu’s head and body. The hit men’s rudimentary choice of getaway vehicles—namely, bicycles—aside, the assailants were no ordinary aggressors. Members of the notorious Bamboo Gang, Tung Kuei-sen and Wu Tun had been ordered to murder Liu by Admiral Wang His-ling, a Taiwanese intelligence director. Wang was discontent not only with Liu’s dissent writing on President Chiang Ching-kuo but with rumors of Liu’s dissatisfaction with Wang’s own work. Although the incident itself failed to incite significant attention in the United States, the murder of Henry Liu and the resulting United States lawsuits had serious repercussions for the broader Chinese American community. The Liu estate’s private tort actions against Taiwan became the dominant public method by which the United States recognized a serious violation of a Chinese American’s rights to live and write without fear of retaliation or death.

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