The Bamboo Union: Romance, History and Politics

May 28, 2018

From the 1950s to the 1980s, student gangs founded by children of mainlanders in Taiwan evolved into entrepreneurial criminal organizations, against the backdrop of Taiwan’s modernization and gradual democratization. This metamorphosis is best illustrated in the formation and vicissitudes of the Bamboo Union (zhulian bang). Its political relevance,  legendary leaders, and high visibility have made the Bamboo Union a brand name for Taiwan’s  not-so-underworld organizations. Based on archival research and exclusive interviews with mobsters of different ranks, Dr. Xia unveils the historical realities of this often fantasied organization, its inner-workings and its intricate relations with competing gangs as well as with the Nationalist party. In addition, the Bamboo Union has become an important variable in Taiwan’s deteriorating relations with People’s Republic of China and its uncertain political future.


Yun Xia is Associate Professor of History and International Studies at Valparaiso University, Indiana. She received her B.A. from Beijing University, and her Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. Dr. Xia has produced work on Chinese nationalism and political culture, gender, film studies, and Chinese medicine. Her first book, Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China (University of Washington Press, 2017) examines the mass campaigns against hanjian in the context of China’s War of Resistance against Japan. Dr. Xia’s current research focuses on the rise of organized crime in postwar Taiwan, which she treats as a unique framework in analyzing the changing trends in high politics, ethnic relations, and identity formation during the past seven decades.

Monday, May 28, 2018

1:30 to 3:00 pm

SFU Burnaby 
Academic Quadrangle 
AQ 6106
8888 University Drive 

Please register here.


  • David See-chai Lam Centre
  • Taiwan Studies Group, Department of History