They Chose China

A couple of months ago, I downloaded the documentary ‘They Chose China’ to my Ubuntu laptop with an intention to watch it some day, whenever I had time. The documentary features American ‘turncoats’ in China: American soldiers, who after the Korean War refused to be repatriated and decided to stay in China. Most of them eventually returned to the US and reintegrated into the Western society (not without problems of course).

This is an excellent documentary, though, English-only: I’m a bit surprised to see it in the realms of Google Video. I’m not sure where I got it from initially, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t via Smashing Telly.

Watching the documentary, I was reminded of the (famous or infamous, whichever your political tendencies) Dutch deserter, “Poncke” Princen. I remember that the debate about him heated up when he briefly returned to The Netherlands to visit a dying familymember: I thought it was weird to watch the anger of former ‘Police Actions’ veterans fan over; after all, all of them took part in the country’s “darkest colonial heritage” (Wikipedia compares those Actions to America’s Vietnam).

Curiously, my dad was dead set against Princen too: I always thought that this had more to do with the fact that he always appeared to indicate that the time after the occupation (the Bersiap period) was more violent than he’d seen in the Japanese camps, although most of his post-traumatic stress originated from the suffering in those camps.

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