January 15, 1923 – Birth of Lee Teng-hui, 4th President of the Republic of China

2 min read
Lee Teng-hui

Lee Teng-hui (15 January 1923 – 30 July 2020) was a Taiwanese statesman and economist who was the fourth president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) under the 1947 Constitution and chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) from 1988 to 2000.

He was the first president of the Republic of China to be born in Taiwan and the first to be directly elected. During his presidency, Lee oversaw the end of martial law and the full democratization of the ROC, advocated the Taiwanese localization movement, and led an ambitious foreign policy to gain allies around the world. Nicknamed “Mr. Democracy”, Lee was credited as the president who initiated Taiwan’s transition to the democratic era.

After leaving office, he remained active in Taiwanese politics. Lee was considered the “spiritual leader” of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), and recruited for the party in the past. After Lee campaigned for TSU candidates in the 2001 Taiwanese legislative election, he was expelled by KMT. Other activities that Lee engaged in included maintaining relations with former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and Japan.

Lee died of multiple organ failure and septic shock at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on 30 July 2020, at the age of 97. He had suffered from infections and cardiac problems since he was admitted to hospital in February.

A state funeral was announced, while a memorial venue at the Taipei Guest House where people paid respects to Lee was opened to the public from 1 to 16 August 2020, after which Lee’s body was cremated and his remains interred at Wuzhi Mountain Military Cemetery. All national flags at government institutions were placed at half-mast for three days.

Tony Simon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *