Former PCT General Secretary’s wife publishes memoir
Reported by Lin Yi-ying
Written by Lydia Ma
Ruth Kao, wife of former PCT General Secretary C.M. Kao, recently published a memoir. The publication date, December 10, 2010, coincided with Human Rights Day, and a small gathering was held at PCT Headquarters to publicize this memoir.
The book was written by Hsieh Ta-li (a PCT missionary serving in Singapore) based on Kao’s dictation or narration of key events in her life and published by Taiwan Theological College and Seminary.
In her memoir, Kao retells stories such as her father’s imprisonment during the Japanese colonization of Taiwan, the death of her elder brother in the brutal February 28 Massacre, and her husband’s arrest and imprisonment soon after the Kaohsiung Incident.
As she watched her family become political prisoners or victims under an unjust system, Kao writes that these incidents robbed her of her human rights to live without fear and she is also a victim of human rights abuses if viewed from this perspective.
Her book is her attempt to help people today understand what she went through and how she felt as these events unfolded before her eyes and how she managed to live through them.
Ruth Kao married Rev. C.M. Kao in 1958 before her husband was appointed General Secretary of the PCT in 1970. His term in office saw the passage of several famous PCT statements, including: Statement on our National Fate, Declaration of Human Rights, Our Appeal, and more.
Life for this couple took a dramatic turn when the Kaohsiung Incident broke out and Rev. Kao was arrested and imprisoned in April of 1980 by the KMT government on the charge of hiding Shih Ming-te – a political activist critical of the KMT at the time.
During the 4 years, 3 months, and 21 days that her husband was imprisoned, Ruth Kao not only became an executive committee member in the WARC, but also helped various organizations advance women’s and children’s rights.
For many people, Ruth Kao has become a symbol of quiet strength and the epitome of a modern wife and woman of noble character.