228 Incident, Academics, Activism, Asian International Affairs, Crowdfunding, Current Events, Entrepreneurship, New York, Notable Taiwan Guest, Podcast, Politics, Racism and Diversity, Self-Empowerment, Taiwan, Taiwan Books, Taiwan Citizenship, Taiwan Elections, Taiwan Films, Taiwan Geography, Taiwan History, Taiwan Independence, Taiwan Life, Taiwan Organizations, Taiwan Studies, Taiwan Travel, Taiwan vs China, White Terror, Writers

Pasuya Yao: On The Film “Untold Herstory” About 1950’s Women Political Prisoners on Green Island Ep 244

By Felicia Lin

Pasuya Yao (姚文智) is a politician turned film producer. His film production company thuànn TAIWAN, produced the documentary Su Beng, The Revolutionist and more recently the feature film Untold Herstory that ranked third at Taiwan’s box office in 2022. The film is based on a book by authored by Tsao Chin-jung (曹欽榮) and published in 2012, the book’s title has been translated as “Bonfire Island: Untold Herstory.” It is a collection of interviews of women political prisoners held on Green Island in the 1950s.

Mr. Yao is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator and previously ran for Taipei City Mayor in 2018. We talked about why he decided to switch from a career in politics to film producing, and about the subjects his upcoming television and film projects: artist Chen Cheng-po (陳澄波), the Taiyuan uprising of 1970, and Chen Nylon (鄭南榕).

This episode of Talking Taiwan has been sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association.

NATWA was founded in 1988, and its mission is:


  1. to evoke a sense of self-esteem and enhance women’s dignity,
  2. to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality,
  3. to fully develop women’s potential and encourage their participation in public affairs,
  4. to contribute to the advancement of human rights and democratic development in Taiwan,
  5. to reach out and work with women’s organizations worldwide to promote peace for all.

To learn more about NATWA visit their website: www.natwa.com

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • Pasuya Yao’s career as a politician before becoming a film producer
  • How Mr. Yao got interested and involved in politics as a college student
  • Mr. Yao recalls the Kuomintang’s authoritarian rule during Taiwan’s martial law era
  • When Mr. Yao served as director of the News Bureau in 2004 he gained a more comprehensive understanding of Taiwan’s media culture and film industry
  • Mr. Yao served as director of the GIO (government information office) in 2005 he
  • How Mr. Yao ran for Taipei City mayor in 2018 but lost and decided to switch to producing films
  • How Mr. Yao was exposed to opposition (dangwai) magazines when he was a teenager
  • The meaning behind the name of Mr. Yao’s film production company, thuànn  TAIWAN Film Company
  • The difference between the first film Mr. Yao’s produced, Su Beng, The Revolutionist (a documentary) and Untold Herstory (a feature film)
  • How fundraising is the most challenging part of film production
  • The subjects of Mr, Yao’s future television and film projects: Chen Cheng-po, a Taiwanese artist that was executed in 1947, Taiyuan 1970, Cheng Nylon
  • Mr. Yao’s relatives that were affected by the 228 Massacre and White Terror era
  • How Chiang Kai-shek personally signed and changed verdicts changed to a death sentences
  • Documents revealing Chiang Kai-shek’s orders to execute were gradually exposed and made public over two decades since the DPP was the opposition party
  • How Mr. Yao feels it’s important that younger generations of Taiwanese need to understand Taiwan’s history and that Taiwan’s democracy was hard-earned and due to the sacrifices of many
  • How a thousand or more people’s fate were changed directly by Chiang Kai-shek’s personal orders
  • How the film Untold Herstory is based on the oral history research done by Tsao Chin-jung
  • The challenges in casting actors for Untold Herstory
  • Where Untold Herstory has been screened
  • What kind of response the film has received
  • How Untold Herstory was release around the time of Taiwan’s local elections in November 2022
  • Untold Herstory ranked third at Taiwan’s box office in 2022
  • Where Untold Herstory will be screened in the future
  • Untold Herstory will be available on Taiwan Plus beginning February 28, 2024, the anniversary of the 228 Massacre


Related Links:

thuànn  TAIWAN’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thuannTaiwan


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Progressive_Party


Chen Shui-bian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen_Shui-bian


Taiwan’s martial law era: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_law_in_Taiwan


Kuomintang (KMT): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuomintang


Opposition magazines/ Taiwan’s “outside the party” magazines on the road to democratization

(Three generations of ‘dangwai’ magazines played a crucial role in calling for democracy, freedom of speech and mobilizing the public to fight against martial law): https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2018/01/23/2003686261


Su Beng, The Revolutionist Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/subengmovie


Chen Cheng-po (Tan Teng-po): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tan_Teng-pho


The 228 Incident/Massacre: https://228massacre.org/






Taiwan’s White Terror era: https://www.nhrm.gov.tw/w/nhrmEN/White_Terror_Period


Taiwan in Time: Prison break to nationwide revolution? (an article from the Taipei Times): https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2023/02/05/2003793744


Chiang Kai-shek: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Kai-shek


Chen Nylon (Nan-jung): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheng_Nan-jung

Taiwan Communique: Revealing the Truth of Taiwan’s White Terror Era Ep 63

Remembering Su Beng Taiwanese Revolutionary with Jiho Chang Ep 156

Commemorating the 228 Massacre: Taboos, Scars, Stigmas, and an Essential Lesson in Taiwan History Ep 228

Courtney Donovan Smith of Taiwan Report Shares His Analysis on Taiwan’s 2022 “Nine-in-One” Local Elections Ep 227

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

Follow Talking Taiwan on your Favorite Social Media Platform!

Book Felicia Lin for an Exclusive Interview

Host of Talking Taiwan and Su Beng Biographer Felicia Lin is now available for interviews.
Her empathetic easy-going  yet deeply-informed style of conversation and mastery of the topics has elevated Talking Taiwan to the Top 5% of all podcasts in the World.
Book Felicia either as an interviewer or an interviewee.  


You may also like:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get in touch

0 of 350