Chuang was the first Taiwanese Christian who was persecuted and brutally killed during the early period of the English Presbyterian mission in southern Taiwan. His death signified the identity dilemma of the early converts in being both Christian and Taiwanese, and the hostility and misconceptions of the common Taiwanese towards Catholic and Protestant Christians.
Originally from upper Tamsui, Chuang first heard of the Gospel while conversing with a janitor at Dr. Carnegie’s hospital in Amoy, China. Upon his return to Tamsui, he learned about the Presbyterian mission in Kiau (near present-day Kau-Hsiong), and he immediately embarked on a nine-day journey from Taipei to Tainan. Learning that there would be a Sunday service in Takaw the following day, he went and received Christ at once after hearing the sermon. He was baptized by Leonard William Kip and received his first communion on 10 Mar 1867.
Soon after his conversion, Chuang assisted James Laidlaw Maxwell in the Ki-au Hospital and was appointed an itinerant preacher for San-te-chhu, Pi-tau, and the surrounding areas. He married Kho Un-liang in early 1868 through a matchmaker, Lim Bok-piau, who convinced Kho that Chuang was not a Jip-kau-e (one who has fallen into the religion), but a believer in the “highest God.” They settled in Ki-au.
A conflict arose when Chuang tried to force his wife (even beating her several times, she claimed) to go to church. After he went to church on Sunday, Apr 23, his wife escaped and hid in a friend’s house in Cho-eng. When he tried to compel her to return home the next day, the old woman in the house shouted, “Jip-kau-e is seizing people.” At that time the rumor was circulating that foreign missionaries were forcing people to join their religion and poisoning them. Chuang was therefore inhumanely beaten and killed by a mob of several hundred people. His body was cut into pieces and his heart was eaten. He was 19 years old and his wife 15.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- Lai, Yung-hsiang John, Topics on Taiwan Church History, Series II (1990). Iun, Su-iong, Short Biographies of Famous Taiwanese Christians, Vol. I (1966).