For my fellow Americans, it is easy to be unaware of the day when China and South Korea celebrate the 1954 repatriation of 14,000 Chinese prisoners of the Korean War. 22,600 Communist soldiers total refused to return to Communist People's Republic of China or to Communist North Korea and instead requested repatriation to the Republic of China or to South Korea. 14,000 of them were Chinese and they formed the "Anti-Communist League" after arriving in free Taiwan. (Note: 86 chose India over China)
People like Noam Chomsky may toss out the true but still misleading trivia that soldiers of both sides refused repatriation to the countries they were fighting for, just like he did in his famous 1960s "Firing Line" appearance that I like to call his "which way did those refugees go" moment. During the first installment of the Korean War, 22 American Soldiers and on British soldier refused repatriation too. Thus, to folks like Noam Chomsky who say "refugees went both ways" later in Vietnam, the 1,000-1 ratio is meaningless. Just as the 7-1 ratio of those fleeing North Vietnam to those leaving the South is no issue. The issue to them is that somebody went to the Communists. A list of the 22 from WikiPedia is copied at the bottom of this post. Not the fate of each, when they were returned to freedom.
Here is a video about the UN forces who refused repatriation, known as the Turncoats, that passes itself as a documentary. Any reasonable assessment is that it is modern Communist Chinese propaganda. One of the keys is their referring to the Chinese Red Army as volunteers, when in fact they were conscripts. The propaganda so preposterous that the truth shines through the lies, especially in clips of the Turncoats who spoke of how things changed in China after their propaganda value ended. I add it in the interest of fairness. Speaking of "fairness," the video notes the Courts Martial and sentencing of two Americans who returned and were convicted of Treason. The video mentions their sentencing, but not that they did not serve a single day in jail after their trials. See the Wiki information farther down.
See more in parts two, three, four, and five. This series of videos will be the subject of another post and this general issue will be covered in great detail in Would You Like Borders With That Socialism?
On the other hand, people like president Obama seem to have deep seated reasons for not recognizing the free zone of China. In September, 2009 the Communist Chinese were celebrating the 60th anniversary of Maoist Stalinism on the Ellipse,with the White House as a backdrop.
Since the 1954 POW exchange there has been the occasional American service member who defected to North Korea, not unlike college students and others who decide to get involved with terrorist causes, Communist or not.
Six American servicemen are known to have defected to North Korea after the war:
Larry Allen Abshier (1962)
James Joseph Dresnok (1962)
Jerry Wayne Parrish (1963)
Charles Robert Jenkins (1965)
Roy Chung (1979)
Joseph T. White (1982)
United Nations Service Members who defected during the first installment of the Korean War (via WikiPedia):
- Adams, Clarence (Cpl.)
- A soldier from Memphis, Tennessee. Adams cited racial discrimination in the United States as the reason he refused repatriation. While a prisoner, Adams took classes in Communist political theory, and afterwards lectured other prisoners in the camps. During the Vietnam War, Adams made propaganda broadcasts for Radio Hanoi from their Chinese office, telling black American soldiers not to fight:You are supposedly fighting for the freedom of the Vietnamese, but what kind of freedom do you have at home, sitting in the back of the bus, being barred from restaurants, stores and certain neighborhoods, and being denied the right to vote. ... Go home and fight for equality in America.
- He married a Chinese woman and lived in China until the increasingly anti-Western atmosphere of the Cultural Revolution led him to return to the United States in 1966. Adams was charged with treason by the House Un-American Activities Committee, but charges were dismissed. He later started a Chinese restaurant business in Memphis. Clarence Adams died in 1999. His autobiography An American Dream: The Life of an African American Soldier and POW Who Spent Twelve Years in Communist China was posthumously published in 2007 by his daughter Della Adams and Lewis H. Carlson.
- Adams, Howard (Sgt.)
- From Corsicana, Texas. He worked in a paper factory in Jinan, China. He refused all media requests for interviews.
- Belhomme, Albert Constant (Sgt.)
- A native of Belgium who immigrated to the United States as a teenager. He lived in China for ten years, working in a paper factory in Jinan, before returning to Antwerp, Belgium.
- Bell, Otho Grayson (Cpl.)
- Originally from Olympia, Washington. In China was sent to a collective farm with William Cowart and Lewis Griggs (see below). Bell described himself, Cowart and Griggs as "the dummy bunch", saying they were sent to the farm because they could not learn Chinese. They returned to the United States together in July 1955, were arrested, but were released when it was found that the military no longer had jurisdiction over the defectors after they were dishonorably discharged. Bell died in 2003.
- Corden, Richard (Sgt.)
- A native of Chicago, Illinois. He returned to the United States on 19 January, 1958. He was reported to live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1961 and moved to Chicago in 1962. He reportedly continued to favor communism even after returning to the United States. He died in 1988.
- Cowart, William (Cpl.)
- Returned with Bell and Griggs. Later the three soldiers sued for their back pay. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which held that Bell, Cowart and Griggs were entitled to their back pay from the time they were captured to the time they were dishonorably discharged.
- Douglas, Rufus (Sgt.)
- Died in China a few months after arrival in 1954. The manner of his death is not certain but is believed to have been from natural causes.
- Dunn, John Roedel (Cpl.)
- From Altoona, Pennsylvania. He married a Czechoslovakian woman while in China and settled in Czechoslovakia in December 1959.
- Fortuna, Andrew (Sgt.)
- Originally from Greenup, Kentucky. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for his service in Korea before he was captured. He returned to the United States on July 3, 1957. He worked in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1958, in Detroit, Michigan from 1963-64 and Chicago in 1964. He was reported to be in Gary, Indiana as of 1964. He died in 1984.
- Griggs, Lewis Wayne
- Returned with Bell and Cowart in 1955. He was listed as a senior majoring in sociology at Stephen F. Austin State University, graduating in 1959. He died in 1984.
- Hawkins, Samuel David (Pfc.)
- From Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He married a Russian woman in China and returned to the United States in February 1957, shortly before his wife was permitted to come to the United States. He successfully petitioned the government to change his discharge from dishonorable to other than honorable. He raised a family, and has given interviews to the press on the condition that his location not be disclosed.
- Pate, Arlie (Cpl.)
- Worked in a paper mill before returning with Aaron Wilson (see below) in 1956. He died in 1999.
- Rush, Scott (Sgt.)
- Married in China. After living in China ten years, he and his wife moved back to the United States and settled in the Midwest.
- Skinner, Lowell (Cpl. )
- His mother begged him to come home over the radio at the time of the prisoner exchange, to no avail. He married in China, but left his wife behind when he came back to America in 1963. Later he would have problems with alcohol and spent six months in a psychiatric hospital. He died in 1995.
- Sullivan, LaRance
- Came home in 1958 and died in 2001.
- Tenneson, Richard (Pfc.)
- Came home in 1955. He went to Louisiana a few months later to welcome home fellow defector Aaron Wilson (see below). He settled in Utah before dying in 2001.
- Veneris, James (Pvt.)
- From Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.  He stayed in China and became a dedicated communist, taking the Chinese name 'Lao Wen'. He worked in a steel mill, participated in the Great Leap Forward, hung posters during the Cultural Revolution, married three times, and had children. He visited the United States in 1976 but returned to China, where he is buried.
- Webb, Harold (Sgt.)
- From Jacksonville, Florida. He married a Polish woman in China and moved to Poland in 1960, reportedly settling in Katowice. In 1988, he was given permission to settle in the United States. He is the subject of the Youth Defense League song Turncoat about rejection of a Korean War defector seeking a return to America.
- White, William (Cpl.)
- Married and got a bachelor's degree in international law while in China. He returned to the United States in 1965.
- Wills, Morris (Cpl.)
- From Fort Ann, New York. He played basketball for Peking University and got married in China. He came back to America in 1965 and got a job in the Asian Studies Department at Harvard University. His autobiography, Turncoat: An American's 12 Years in Communist China, was published in 1966. He died in 1999.
- Wilson, Aaron (Cpl.)
- Originally from Urania, Louisiana. He came home from China 06 December 1956. Wilson married an American girl and worked in his Louisianahometown's mill.
- Condron, Andrew (Marine)
- Scotsman of 41 (Independent) Royal Marine Commando, was the only Briton to decline repatriation. He returned to Britain in 1960, and faced no disciplinary action.