Deciphering fact from fiction

Certainly those who have heard tall tales about Su Beng may wonder what is fact or fiction and here I will offer some points of clarification.

History buffs should be the first to note that Su Beng, who was born in 1918, would have only been about 16 years of age when the Long March began in October of 1934. So, no, he did not participate in the Long March, which was the yearlong military retreat of the Red Armies of the Communist Party of China as they attempted to dodge Kuomingtang forces.

On getting a vasectomy

Su Beng did indeed get a vasectomy before the age of thirty, while he was in Shanghai (1942-1945) working as an undercover agent for the Chinese Communists; his reasons for electing to get a vasectomy include some “colorful” and practical reasons. It was common practice for the Chinese Communists to pair up male and female undercover agents, thereby assigning them to live as a “married” couple. And so they did- live under the same roof and sleep in the same bed. Inevitably, some “couples” ended up consummating their relationship, and if this resulted in offspring, the agents were transferred away to remote areas, abandoned by the Chinese Communists and considered to no longer be of any use. Su Beng saw this and decided that he didn’t want to meet such demise. He had followed his Marxist, socialist ideals to come to China in order to resist Japanese imperialism; nothing was going to prevent his revolutionary purpose.

Was this a man who simply knew himself- that he was just human and that he would have these undeniable urges which he wouldn’t be able to control? Some might say he could have just used some self-control and restraint, but just how realistic is that view? Were there more noble reasons at work in Su Beng’s decision? Decisions like this are not always as simple as they seem.

The one person that Su Beng said he’d have to “answer to” for this life decision would be his grandmother- who raised him like a son. Su Beng's mother was an only child, so he was given his mother’s maiden name Shi (施)rather than his father’s surname Lin in order to continue the Shi lineage.

On being a Communist

Su Beng went to China (1942-1949) a socialist idealist; working for the Chinese Communists was a means to resist Japanese imperialism. He became disillusioned with communism as the hypocrisy and brutality of the Chinese Communists became apparent. He resisted and did not join the Communist party, he knew he'd have to devise a way to escape their clutches. It wouldn't be easy.

And there’s more…

There’s the woman who’s said to be the love of his life- a Japanese woman that Su Beng met in Beijing, who fled with him out of China (in 1949) and away from the grip of the Chinese Communists to Taiwan. After his involvement in a plot to assassinate Chiang Kai-shek, he fled from Taiwan by stowing away in a banana boat to Japan (in 1952). Later she reunited with him in Japan.

During the 40 years or so (from 1952-1993) that Su Beng lived in exile in Japan, he illegally entered Taiwan several times in order to continue his underground efforts to destabilize the KMT and promote Taiwan independence.