Fishermen's Lives across the Taiwan Strait

This collection introduces recollections by Chinese fishermen who frequently sailed across the Taiwan Strait at the height of the Cold War. Their experiences offer a microscopic view of how ordinary people maneuvered rivalries between the two Chinas as a way to safeguard their livelihoods.


These transcripts were interviewed by

Interview With Zhang Ya Ye, Ruan Ya Bao, Wu Wu

In this group interview, Zhang Ya Ye, Ruan Ya Bao and Wu Wu discuss their experiences as theater performers on fishing vessels in Xiamen, their encounters with Kuomintang soldiers at sea, and their troupe’s adaptation of a true story about the capture of Kuomintang sailors by mainland fishermen.

Interview With Ruan Ya Ying

Ruan Ya Ying recollects his childhood, his experiences as a sailor at the Xiamen Port, and his career as a political activist on behalf of the mainland Chinese authorities, during which time he also served as an intelligence officer for the People’s Liberation Army.

Interview With Zhang Yamin

Zhang Yamin discusses his experiences growing up in the Xiamen Port from the 1950s during the Cold War.

Interview With Ruan Lao Gu

Ruan Lao Gu discusses his experiences at Xiamen Port during and after the Cold War.

Interview With Zeng Moushui

Zeng Moushui discusses his family’s encounters with hostile Kuomintang forces circa 1949.

Interview With Zhang Guohe

Zhang Guohe discusses clashes between the Kuomintang and Chinese fishing vessels out at sea by Xiamen Port in the 1960s.

Interview With Chen Fuyu

Chen Fuyu discusses the life circumstances of Xiamen Port fishermen in Cold War China.