Linda Arrigo

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Linda Arrigo
Personal details
Political party Green circle.svg Green Party Taiwan
Born (1949-01-16) January 16, 1949 (age 65)

Linda Gail Arrigo (Chinese: 艾琳達; pinyin: Ài Líndá; born January 16, 1949) is an American political activist, human rights activist, and academic researcher in Taiwan. She formerly served as the international affairs officer of Green Party Taiwan.


Born in the United States to Joseph and Nellie Arrigo, she went to Taiwan as a teenager in 1963 with her father, formerly a United States Army logistics officer who was assigned to the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Taiwan.[1] Arrigo attended Taipei American School and after graduation in 1966 as valedictorian returned to the U.S. in 1968 and received her undergraduate degree in 1972 from the University of California, San Diego.[2] She then attended Stanford University and obtained a "terminal" masters degree in Anthropology in 1976 after ideological disagreements with her advisors there.

Arrigo returned to Taiwan in 1977 to continue work on her doctorate research by studying the marriage and labor issues of Taiwanese women entering the workplace. Working with these women, and their families, would lead her to see Taiwan from their point of view, and in the late 1970s she became active in human rights and opposition politics. She left behind in California her first husband, a Taiwanese-American surnamed Chen, and son Roger born 1969. She became a part of the 1978 campaign coalition that later evolved into the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and in 1978 married a former political prisoner who in 1991 became the DPP chairman, Shih Ming-teh (the couple formally divorced in June 1995 after Arrigo accused Shih of violating human rights principles in the party's international relations).

The following year, 1979, she was deported and then blacklisted from Taiwan, by James Soong, then head of the Government Information Office, for her involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident, on Human Rights Day, December 10, 1979. The ROC government falsely accused Arrigo of spying for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[3] She returned to California and then moved to New York in 1983 for further graduate study in the Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton.[4] In April 1980, after the only violent political riot in thirty years, the Kaohsiung Incident, Shih Ming-teh was sentenced to life imprisonment under the continuing martial law (1949–1988). Seven other leading dissidents also received sentences of ten or more years for sedition, and the mother and daughters of one, Provincial Assemblyman Lin Yi-hsiung, were murdered on February 28, 1980.[citation needed] In the 1990s Arrigo was permitted to return to Taiwan, where she became politically active in the Green Party Taiwan and Taiwan Environmental Protection Union. She taught at Shih Hsin University in Taipei and acted as a liaison for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).[4]

She finished work on her PhD (1996) from the State University of New York at Binghamton.[5] The title of her doctoral dissertation was "The Economics of Inequality in an Agrarian Society: Land Ownership, Land Tenure, Population Processes and the Rate of Rent in 1930’s China".[6]

In 1997 she published Muckraker! An Overall Critique of the Opposition Movement in Taiwan, a collection of her political essays. Arrigo married for the third time in September 1999, to Ho Shu-yuan, a bus driver at a Taipei primary school that she meet doing environmental volunteering; but the couple has long been separated.[4]

In 2001 she (along with Wang Feng-ying) accused Parris Chang, a Democratic Progressive Party legislator, of sexual harassment. Chang filed a libel lawsuit against the two women.[7] Arrigo also filed a lawsuit against her former husband, Shih Ming-teh, for alimony. She won the lawsuit but Shih said he would only pay the money if she would "behave herself".[8]

She publicly criticized her former husband, Shih Ming-teh, in 2006, when he launched a campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian. Arrigo contended that his campaign was financed and supported by the Kuomintang (KMT).[9]

In 2008 she completed a book in English compiling the experiences of early foreign human rights activists in Taiwan, entitled, "A Borrowed Voice: Taiwan Human Rights through International Networks, 1960-1980 (with co-author Lynn Miles), published with a grant from the Taiwan government's Bureau of Cultural Reconstruction, then under a DPP administration.

Since September 2007 Arrigo has been teaching at the Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan.


  1. ^ Arrigo, Linda Gail. - "1960’s Taipei through American Eyes". - Taiwanease. - No. 1 - September 1, 2006. - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document). - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  2. ^ Funabiki, Jon. - "The price of protest -- 7 years in prison". - San Diego Union. - May 12, 1987. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  3. ^ Mathews, Jay. - "Crackdown Leaves Taiwan Opposition Leaderless, Weak". - Washington Post. - January 3, 1980. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  4. ^ a b c "Prominent opposition activist, writer Linda Arrigo ties the knot". - Taipei Times. - September 13, 1999. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  5. ^ "Taiwan’s move toward independence". - Christian Science Monitor. - December 13, 1994. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  6. ^ "Recent Publications". - Rockefeller Archive Center Newsletter. - Fall 1997. - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document). - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  7. ^ "DPP legislator accused of sexual harassment". - Straits Times. - June 14, 2001. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  8. ^ "Legislator's former political wife seeks alimony". - The China Post. - November 16, 2001. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19
  9. ^ "Shih's ex-wife suggests he was backed by the opposition in campaign". - The China Post. - August 18, 2006. - Retrieved: 2008-07-19

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