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Lien Chan

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Lien Chan

Lien Chan
3rd Chairman of the Kuomintang
In office
24 March 2000 – 29 August 2005
Deputy Vincent Siew
Wang Jin-pyng
Chiang Chung-ling
Wu Po-hsiung
Lin Cheng-zi
Chiang Pin-kung
Ma Ying-jeou
Preceded by Lee Teng-hui
Succeeded by Ma Ying-jeou
Vice President of the Republic of China
In office
20 May 1996 – 20 May 2000
President Lee Teng-hui
Preceded by Li Yuan-tsu
Succeeded by Annette Lu
14th Premier of the Republic of China
In office
27 February 1993 – 31 August 1997
President Lee Teng-hui
Deputy Hsu Li-teh
Preceded by Hau Pei-tsun
Succeeded by Vincent Siew
13th Chairman of Taiwan Provincial Government
In office
16 June 1990 – 25 February 1993
Preceded by Chiu Chuang-huan
Succeeded by James Soong
10th Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China
In office
20 July 1988 – 1 June 1990
Preceded by Ting Mao-shih
Succeeded by Fredrick Chien
Vice Premier of the Republic of China
In office
1 May 1987 – 22 July 1988
Premier Yu Kuo-hwa
Preceded by Lin Yang-kang
Succeeded by Shih Chi-yang
11th Minister of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of China
In office
1 December 1981 – 23 April 1987
Preceded by Lin Chin-sheng
Succeeded by Kuo Nan-hung
Chairman of National Youth Commission of the Executive Yuan
In office
1 August 1978 – 30 November 1981
Preceded by Wang Wei-nong
Succeeded by Kao Ming-hui
ROC Ambassador to El Salvador
In office
Personal details
Born 27 August 1936 (1936-08-27) (age 79)
Xi'an, Shensi, Republic of China
Nationality  Republic of China
Political party Kuomintang
Spouse(s) Fang Yu (m. 1965)
Relations Sean Lien (son)
Alma mater National Taiwan University
University of Chicago

Lien Chan (Chinese: 連戰; pinyin: Lián Zhàn; born August 27, 1936, in Xi'an, China) is a politician in Taiwan. He was Premier of the Republic of China from 1993 to 1997, Vice President of the Republic of China from 1996 to 2000, and was the Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) from 2000 to 2005. Upon his retirement as chairman in August 2005, he was given the title Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political career 2
    • Corruption Allegations 2.1
  • Cross-strait relations 3
    • April 2005 breakthrough journey to mainland China 3.1
    • October 2005 visit to Shenyang 3.2
    • 2006 visit to Mainland China 3.3
    • 2010 visit to Shanghai 3.4
    • 2013 visit to Beijing 3.5
    • 2014 visit to Beijing 3.6
    • 2015 visit to Beijing 3.7
  • APEC Representative 4
  • Name 5
  • Family 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Lien Chan was born in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China as the only child of Lien Chen-tung (連震東) and Chao Lan-k'un (趙蘭坤). His paternal grandfather, Lien Heng, was the writer of The General History of Taiwan (台灣通史), a book that is often cited for the quote, "Taiwan's sorrow is that it has no history." Lien earned a Bachelor's degree in political science from the National Taiwan University in 1957 and a Master of Arts in International Law and Diplomacy in 1961. He received a PhD in political science in 1965 from the University of Chicago and married former Miss Republic of China Fang Yu the same year. Lien is also currently a Trustee Emeritus on the Board of Trustees to the University of Chicago.[1]

Lien held assistant professorships of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1966 to 1967 and the University of Connecticut from 1967 to 1968. He returned to Taiwan in 1968 to become visiting professor of political science at the National Taiwan University, serving as chairman of the Political Science Department and dean of the Graduate Institute of Political Science the following year.

Political career

His official positions included Ambassador to El Salvador (1975–1976), Minister of Communications and Transportation (1981–1987), Vice Premier (1987–1988), Foreign Minister (1988–1990) before becoming Governor of Taiwan Province (1990–1993). In 1993 he was appointed Premier of the Republic of China. In 1996, Lee Teng-hui selected him as running mate in the presidential election. After Lee and Lien won the election for the presidency and the vice-presidency respectively, Lien retained the premiership. This proved unpopular, and opposition parties claimed that this was possibly in conflict with the constitution, leading to a Council of Grand Justices decision ruling that Lien's retention of these dual roles was "constitutional but inappropriate." In response, on 31 August 1997, he resigned as Premier but remained Vice President. Before becoming Chairman of the KMT, he was Vice Chairman (1993–2000) and a member of the Central Committee (1984–2000).

1996 Republic of China Presidential Election Result
President Candidate Vice President Candidate Party Votes %
Lee Teng-hui Lien Chan Kuomintang 5,813,699 54.0
Peng Ming-min Frank Hsieh Democratic Progressive Party 2,274,586 21.1
Lin Yang-kang Hau Pei-tsun Independent 1,603,790 14.9
Chen Li-an Wang Ching-feng Independent 1,074,044 9.9
Invalid/blank votes 117,160
Total 10,883,279 100

Lien took an active role as a representative of Lee Teng-hui in quasi-official diplomacy in the mid-1990s. One of the greatest moments of his career is his 1995 meeting with Václav Havel, in which Lien likened the democratic reforms of the Lee Teng-hui administration as being similar to the Velvet Revolution.

In contrast to his political opponents, Lien Chan, while vice president, was generally considered arrogant, aloof and out of touch with the public.

He finished third in the 2000 Presidential elections despite having the backing of the KMT. One popular theory on Taiwan, which has some support from Lee's subsequent actions, has that Lien Chan was chosen to head the KMT's ticket by President Lee Teng-hui in a deliberate effort to destroy the KMT. Many have noted in support of this theory that Lien has never been elected on his own to any political office, and his ill-fated campaign for President was the first campaign that he ever undertook. During the 2000 Presidential campaign Lien campaigned on a platform of following in Lee's footsteps and continuing localization reforms. He touted a "3-S" slogan of "Safety, Security and Stability", claiming the selection of a DPP candidate would bring China's wrath and a return of fascism.

2000 Republic of China Presidential Election Result
Political affiliation Candidate Votes
President Vice President Total votes Percentage
Democratic Progressive Party Chen Shui-bian Annette Lu 4,977,737 39.3%
Independent James Soong Chang Chau-hsiung 4,664,932 36.8%
Kuomintang Lien Chan Vincent Siew 2,925,513 23.1%
Independent Hsu Hsin-liang Josephine Chu 79,429 0.63%
New Party Li Ao Elmer Fung 16,782 0.13%
Total 12,786,671 82.69% voter turnout
Valid votes 12,664,393
Invalid votes 122,278

Part of Lien's defeat may have been due to the massive 7.4 earthquake on September 21, 1999. As the Vice President and KMT candidate, Lien bore the brunt of public dissatisfaction with government relief efforts, in one instance being chased onto his helicopter by furious victims. In a poll following the earthquake, the undecided vote rose to 47%.

After the defeat of the KMT in 2000, Lien was able to achieve Lee's ouster and assume the leadership of the KMT. He had adopted a platform to erase the Lee effect from Taiwan and "Return to the Good Old Days", a call to return to the heyday of Chiang Ching-kuo. The KMT launched a party wide purge to eradicate Lee supporters and then held a membership drive to attract KMT loyalists. According to Lien, the drive was successful, but many outside observers note a significant drop in membership, as many of the former members who had joined the party as a compulsory act of conscripted military service never renewed. Lien as the Chairman of the KMT also vowed to learn from his loss and remake the KMT party. He held forums to discuss erasing the KMT's image as a corrupt institution and Lien promised to give up property seized by the KMT after the Japanese exodus. The KMT has returned some properties to the government and it considers the matter to be closed, but others disagree. Lien has been criticized for trying to give the land away to local governments as a type of payoff for support.

Lien Chan ran for president with Soong as his running mate in a combined KMT-PFP ticket against Chen Shui-bian in the 2004 Presidential elections, though it had been thought that Lien and Soong personally disliked each other. During the 2000 campaigns, Lien accused Soong of positioning his family graves to interfere with Lien's Feng Shui forcing Lien to reposition his graves.

Initially, it was believed that the Lien-Soong ticket would be a sure win, given that both men garnered a combined 59.9% of the vote in 2000. However, the lead gradually diminished to a dead heat, and both sides were forced to moderate their positions. In December 2003, Lien said that while the KMT was opposed to "immediate independence," it did not wish to be classed as "pro-reunificationist" either. The platform was changed from promoting the eventual reunification of China to preserving the status quo and leaving Taiwan's status to be settled by future generations. Chen also floated the possibility of eventual reunification.

With the platforms largely similar, the campaign was filled largely with personal attacks between Lien and Chen. On March 20, the day after President Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were shot while campaigning, Lien lost the election by 0.2% of the vote. He refused to concede and decided to challenge the results. Pan-Blue supporters staged several mass rallies in the ensuing weeks, with some gatherings turning into riots. Lien sought to nullify the election and institute a recount. The recount confirmed the result, but by a narrower margin. His appeals to cancel the result and hold new elections were rejected by the courts.

 Summary of the 20 March 2004 Republic of China presidential election results
Candidates and nominating parties Votes % Votes
before recount
Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu Hsiu-lien
6,446,900 50.11 6,471,970
Lien Chan and James Soong Chu-yu
6,423,906 49.89 6,442,452
Total (turnout 80.28 %) 12,914,422 100.0
Invalid votes 337,297
Votes cast 13,251,719

In 2005, after Ma was elected as KMT chairman to succeed Lien, the KMT Central Committee offered the unprecedented title of "Chairman Emeritus" (Honorary Chairman) to Lien. Lien did not explicitly say whether he was accepting the title, but his failure to decline appears to be an implicit acceptance.

In December 2010, Lien was awarded the Confucius Peace Prize in China, which was instituted as a reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Liu Xiaobo. Lien's office said to the Taipei Times: “We’ve never heard of such an award and of course Mr Lien has no plans to accept it.” [2]

Corruption Allegations

Some have speculated that his immense wealth was obtained through black gold. Among the allegations, his father Lien Chen-tung was the interior minister responsible of Taiwanese agricultural policy. Through his influence, the family purchased farmland in the 50's and 60's and illegally rezoned it. In an investigation by his political opponents, one DPP legislator Tang Bi-A was quoted "It is doubtful that Lien Chan and his father could accumulate billions in wealth for their family when both of them were government officials receiving limited salaries."

Cross-strait relations

April 2005 breakthrough journey to mainland China

On April 26, 2005, Lien Chan traveled to mainland China to meet with the leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC). His meeting with CPC leader Hu Jintao was the highest level exchange since Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong met in Chongqing on August 28, 1945, to celebrate the victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and discuss a possible truce in the impending Chinese Civil War.

On April 27, Lien visited the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing. On April 28, he arrived in Beijing and visited the Palace Museum.

On the afternoon of April 29, he met with President of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao (in his capacity as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) and they reached a 5-point consensus, reaffirming that Taiwan is part of China and that the two parties would work together to prevent formal Taiwan independence.

Before meeting with Hu on April 29, Lien Chan delivered a speech at Peking University, which his 96-year-old mother Zhao Lankun attended nearly 80 years ago. On April 30, he headed to his birthplace Xi'an. He revisited Houzaimen Primary School, which he attended 60 years ago. He also visited the Great Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor. Early on May 1, he paid homage to his grandmother's tomb near Qingliangsi.

Later that day, Lien arrived in Shanghai, where he attended a banquet hosted by Shanghai CPC Party Secretary General Chen Liangyu. On May 2, he met with Wang Daohan, the 90-year-old chairman of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and the representatives of Taiwanese businesspeople. He returned to Taiwan at noon on May 3.

October 2005 visit to Shenyang

In October 2005, Lien made his second visit to the mainland. He visited Shenyang, Liaoning to pay homage to his maternal grandmother's tomb at Lansheng Village and the school where his mother studied. He also visited the 9.18 Historical Museum to commemorate the Mukden Incident in the Republic of China.[3]

2006 visit to Mainland China

Lien Chan in Beijing on April 2006

In April 2006, Lien departed to Mainland China to visit Fujian. He paid tribute to his ancestors in Zhangzhou and received an honorary doctor's degree from Xiamen University in Xiamen.[4]

On 11 April 2006, Lien arrived in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. He was welcomed by Xia Baolong, deputy secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport. In Hangzhou, Lien met with provincial government leaders and visited the West Lake.

Two days later, Lien visited Beijing to attend the first Cross-Straits Economic Trade and Culture Forum. Lien met with CPC Secretary-General Hu Jintao at the forum, where both underscored the peaceful development of relations between the two sides.[5]

2010 visit to Shanghai

In April 2010, Lien visited Shanghai to attend the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo 2010.[6]

2013 visit to Beijing

In February 2013, Lien visited Beijing to meet with Xi Jinping, the newly elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Lien pronounced a new "16-character principle" for cross-strait relations, which are one China (一個中國), cross-strait peace (兩岸和平), mutually beneficial integration (互利融合) and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation (振興中華).[7] This was unpopular and 'controversial' in Taiwan and criticized for being 'treacherous' to the Taiwanese people, and President Ma has distanced from this statement by saying this is 'absolutely Mr. Lien’s personal view.'[8]

Lien also met with Yu Zhengsheng (chairman-designate of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), Wang Huning (member of the Politburo of the CPC), Li Zhanshu (chief of the General Office of the CPC), Dai Bingguo (state councilor of the PRC), Wang Yi (director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council), Chen Yunlin and Zheng Lizhong (president and vice president of ARATS).[9]

Lien and his wife Lien Fang Yu also visited Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center and met with Liu Wang, Liu Yang and Jing Haipeng, astronauts of the Shenzhou 9.[10]

2014 visit to Beijing

Lien and delegates from 80 business leaders and civil group representatives, including former Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Shu Chin-chiang, visited Beijing on 17 February to meet with Zhang Zhijun, the head of Taiwan Affairs Office, and on 18 February with Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse for non-governmental exchanges.[11] This 3-day trip came after the invitation from the Communist Party of China.[12][13]

During his meeting with Xi, Lien said that the KMT and CPC should make cross-strait relations to progress under the One-China Framework (一中架構).[14]

2015 visit to Beijing

Lien was invited to a Chinese military parade marking the end of the Second Sino–Japanese War in September 2015. Despite drawing criticism from both the Kuomintang[15] and Democratic Progressive Party,[16] Lien decided to go, saying that he intended to promote a stronger Cross-Strait relationship.[17] During the visit, Lien asked Beijing to strongly consider supporting ROC President Ma Ying-jeou's East China Sea Peace Initiative.[18] However, Lien's comments on the Communist role in the war against Japan were directly condemned by the Ma administration.[19] The day after Lien's 3 September return from China,[20] Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu stated that the party would review Lien's visit.[21] The DPP's Annette Lu and Chou Ni-an of the Taiwan Solidarity Union filed separate charges of treason against Lien with the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office.[22] Two separate incidents also showed public displeasure with his visit. On September 5, a celebration of Lien's birthday and wedding anniversary were disrupted by protesters[23] and in Tainan, a statue of Lien's grandfather Lien Ya-tang was vandalized.[24]

APEC Representative

Lien Chan at the 2008 APEC Summit in Peru.

Lien was selected by President Ma Ying-jeou as special envoy to represent the Republic of China (participating as Chinese Taipei) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2008-2012.

While at APEC, Lien also met with PRC President Hu Jintao, the highest level of official exchange between the Mainland and Taiwan on the international stage.[25]


His family name is Lien; his given name is Chan."Chan" means "battles" and his full name literally means "successive battles." The name originated from Lien Heng who, sick with liver cancer in Shanghai, wrote to his pregnant daughter-in-law in Xi'an:

"light and hope of our homeland." (『中、日必將一戰,如生男則名連戰,寓有自強不息,克敵制勝,有復興故國、重整家園光明希望。』)


Lien is married to Lien Fang Yu. They have two sons, Sean Lien and Lien Sheng-Wu (連勝武), and two daughters, Lien Hui-Hsin (連惠心) and Lien Yong-Hsin (連詠心).

See also


  1. ^ [1] Archived March 1, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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External links

  • Kuomintang Official Website
Government offices
Preceded by
Ting Mao-shih
ROC Foreign Minister
Succeeded by
Fredrick Chien
Preceded by
Chiu Chuang-huan
Governor of Taiwan Province
Succeeded by
James Soong
Preceded by
Hau Pei-tsun
Premier of the Republic of China
(President of the Executive Yuan)

Succeeded by
Vincent Siew
Preceded by
Li Yuan-zu
Vice President of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Annette Lu
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lee Teng-hui
Chairman of Kuomintang
Succeeded by
Ma Ying-jeou
Preceded by
Lee Teng-hui
Kuomintang Presidential candidate
2000 (lost), 2004 (lost)
Succeeded by
Ma Ying-jeou
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