NPR: Scenes From The International Desk: A Surprising Force In Taiwanese Politics

EMILY FENG, BYLINE: We’re about to hear from a man named Chang An-lo. He’s also known as the White Wolf in Taiwan, where he lives now. But before he went back to Taiwan, he spent a decade in the U.S. in federal prison, actually.


FENG: He was there for smuggling narcotics and also because he was linked to the murder of a Taiwanese American journalist. But in federal prison, he met a number of people, other criminals. And this is what he had to say about his time there.

CHANG AN-LO: (Through interpreter) Normally, the Chinese who go to the U.S. only see it as a heaven. But in U.S. federal prison, you see another side. I saw that side. U.S. federal prison was my school.

FENG: So in addition to being a criminal, Chang An-lo is also a mob boss, and he’s a very famous pro-Beijing agitator. And I hadn’t realized that, for someone who is so pro-China, that the U.S. had had a significant influence on his political outlook.

KELLY: Wow. OK, so let me catch up with you here. You were there in Taiwan interviewing a Taiwanese mob boss who has served time in a U.S. federal prison. What had you gone to interview him about, by the way, before you got on this path?

FENG: Something completely different. It was about the Taiwanese elections, which are happening January 11 and in which he’s very controversial because he is lobbying for a number of pro-Beijing candidates. But he started talking about his time in the U.S., and he talked really fondly about his time in prison. He met a number of people who he said were Black Panthers, who were socialist activists, were Native American activists – basically, anyone who had a grievance in some way or another with the U.S. government. And what he took away from that decade and those people was that when it came to his own political activism and protecting Taiwan’s interests, he should go with China. He should not trust the United States.

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