National Geographic : 1969 Jan
reform. The provincial government, with the assistance of the Chinese-American Joint Commission on Rural Recon struction, administered the program. Dr. T. H. Shen, Chair man of JCRR, described it to us with enthusiasm: "When Taiwan was freed from Japan in 1945 and returned to China, 80 percent of the people were farmers. Most of the land was owned by big landlords. The farmers were just tenants. Today, more than 90 percent of the farms on Taiwan are operated by their owners. "The results speak for themselves. Since 1945 Taiwan's population has doubled-to more than 13 million people. Yet we're self-sufficient in food and have plenty left to export. Production of rice, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and other crops has doubled, tripled, and in some cases quadrupled. "JCRR helped farmers set up cooperatives and develop better seeds and irrigation methods and more efficient land use. We encouraged fishing, livestock raising, and health pro grams. Today, according to the World Health Organization, Taiwan is one of the healthiest, best-fed countries in Asia. "Now we're sharing what we've learned with other nations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa by sending teams there and inviting their people here. "With many countries we share a basic problem-limited land. Only about 25 percent of Taiwan is arable. But we learned that asparagus does well in the marginal land along rivers and seashore. And mushrooms can grow in layers, on trays in darkened sheds, in effect multiplying the land area. We're among the world's largest exporters of these two foods." "But what's happened to the landlords whose property was taken for land reform?" I asked. Dr. Shen smiled. "Why not talk to a few and find out?" Ex-landlord Makes Cement Mr. Chen-fu Koo, a Taiwan-born former landlord, greeted us in his plush, paneled office in Taipei (page 27). In his blue silk mandarin robe he looked very much the country squire, Chinese style, but the modern desk with its futuristic tele phones and the production chart on the wall were all business -as befitted the president of Taiwan Cement Corporation, one of the country's largest industries. I asked how he felt about land reform. "I used to have 14,820 acres of good land and thousands of tenants. Now I have seven acres and no tenants. And I'm much better off. The government paid for the land. They did not confiscate it as in Communist China. "But they did not pay in money-there wasn't much money then. I was paid in stock in Japanese-owned indus tries that had become government property when Taiwan was returned to China. One of those industries was cement. (Continued on page 16) Raised helmet unveils the grin of a welder at the Tai wan Shipbuilding Corporation in Chilung, the island's biggest shipyard. The yard launched three freighters, totaling 56,000 tons, last year and plans to lay the keel for a 90,000-ton supertanker this March. With Taiwan's continuing boom, the United States in 1965 ended its economic aid-altogether about $1,500,000,000. KODACHROME © N.G.S.