Lei Zhen Papers Acquired by Hoover Archives

Thursday, October 25, 2007
 

The personal papers of Lei Zhen (1897–1979), human rights activist, liberal thinker, and vigorous political opponent of Chiang Kai-shek and Kuomintang rule in post-1949 Taiwan, were recently acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives. As a leading figure in the early pro-democracy movement in Taiwan, Lei Zhen launched the Free China Journal in 1950. Due to the journal's pro-democracy stance and criticism of Chiang Kai-shek, Lei was arrested for treason on September 4, 1960, and sentenced to ten years in prison. The magazine was subsequently shut down.

While in prison, Lei wrote a four million character memoir chronicling his life and thoughts on democracy. However, the memoir and most government records regarding the controversial ‘Lei Zhen Incident’ have either disappeared or been destroyed.

Included in the Lei Zhen papers at the Hoover Archives is a draft of his manuscript, The Black Book of Forming a New Party (Lei Zhen Huiyi Lu Zhi Xin Dang Yundong Hei Pi Shu), which describes Lei's vision for Taiwan's democratization process and prospects. Portions of this memoir were published in 2003. The collection also includes unpublished material concerning his daily life in prison, and letters to his children and other family members that offer an intimate glimpse of Lei as father, husband, and friend.