Tsai Ing-wen

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Tsai.
Tsai Ing-wen
2014-03-18 反黑箱服貿 by 中岑 范姜 (11).jpg
Chair of the Democratic Progressive Party
Assumed office
28 May 2014
Preceded by Su Tseng-chang
In office
20 May 2008 – 14 January 2012
Preceded by Chen Shui-bian
Succeeded by Su Tseng-chang
Vice Premier of the Republic of China
In office
25 January 2006 – 21 May 2007
Premier Su Tseng-chang
Preceded by Wu Rong-i
Succeeded by Chiou I-jen
Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council
In office
20 May 2000 – 20 May 2004
Deputy Chen Ming-tong
Preceded by Su Chi
Succeeded by Joseph Wu
Personal details
Born 31 August 1956 (1956-08-31) (age 58)
Fangshan, Taiwan, Republic of China
Nationality  Republic of China
Political party Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg Democratic Progressive Party
Alma mater National Taiwan University (LL.B.)
Cornell University (LL.M.)
London School of Economics (Ph.D. Law)
University of Cambridge
Tsai Ing-wen
Chinese 英文

Tsai Ing-wen (born August 31, 1956 in Fangshan Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan) is a Taiwanese politician who currently serves as the chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Tsai previously served as chair from 2008 to 2012, and was the party's presidential candidate in 2012.

Having studied in Taiwan, the U.S and the U.K., Tsai earned an LL.B. from National Taiwan University, an LL.M. from Cornell University Law School and a PhD from the London School of Economics.[1][2] Tsai held professorial positions at several universities upon returning from her study abroad in 1984. Starting 1993, she was appointed to a series of governmental positions by the then-ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and was one of the chief drafters of the Special state-to-state relations doctrine of President Lee Teng-hui.

After DPP President Chen Shui-bian took office in 2000, Tsai was invited to serve as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council throughout Chen's first term as a non-partisan. She became a DPP member in 2004 and served briefly as a DPP-listed non-constituency member of the Legislative Yuan. From there, she was appointed Vice Premier under Premier Su Tseng-chang until the cabinet's mass resignation in 2007. She was elected and assumed DPP chairpersonship in 2008, following her party's defeat in the 2008 presidential election. She resigned as chairperson after losing her 2012 presidential election bid.

Tsai ran for New Taipei City mayorship in the November 2010 municipal elections but was defeated by another former vice premier, Eric Chu (KMT). In April 2011, Tsai became the first female presidential candidate of a major party in the history of the Republic of China after defeating her former superior, Su Tseng-chang, in the DPP's primary by a slight margin. She was defeated by incumbent Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou in the 5th direct presidential election in 2012.

Early career[edit]

Born of Hakka origin in Pingtung County, Tsai moved to Taipei at the age of 11. After graduating from the College of Law at National Taiwan University in 1978, she obtained a Master of Laws from Cornell University Law School in 1980 and then a PhD in law from the London School of Economics (1984). Upon her return to Taiwan, she taught law at Soochow University and National Chengchi University both in Taipei, Taiwan.[3]

She was also appointed to several government agencies including the Fair Trade Commission and the Copyright Commission. She served as consultant for the Mainland Affairs Council and the National Security Council.[3] She was also convener of the drafting team on the Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (港澳關係條例).[citation needed]

Rise in politics[edit]

In 2000, Tsai was given the high-profile appointment of chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council. Confirming the widely held belief that she maintained pan-green sympathies, Tsai joined the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2004. She was subsequently nominated by the DPP to be a candidate in the 2004 legislative election and was elected as a legislator-at-large.

On January 26, 2006, Tsai was appointed to the post of vice president of the Executive Yuan, a position commonly referred to as vice premier. She concurrently served as chairwoman of the Consumer Protection Commission.

On May 17, 2007, Tsai, along with the rest of the cabinet of out-going Premier Su Tseng-chang, resigned to make way for incoming Premier Chang Chun-hsiung and his cabinet. Premier Chang named Chiou I-jen, the incumbent secretary-general of the Presidential Office to replace Tsai as vice premier.[4] She then served as the chair of TaiMedBiologics, a biotechnology company based in Taiwan.[5]

In Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou's search for his running mate for the 2008 ROC presidential election, Tsai, a DPP member, was surprisingly suggested. Ma stated that there were no set criteria for a running mate, that his search would not be defined by gender, occupation, or even political party affiliations.[6]

On May 19, 2008, Tsai defeated Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) in the election for DPP chairperson, and succeeded outgoing Frank Hsieh as the 12th-term chairperson of the party.

DPP Chairpersonship[edit]


Tsai took office on May 20, 2008, the same day Ma Ying-jeou was inaugurated as president. She said that DPP would work to deepen the Taiwanese localization movement while defending social justice. She criticized Ma for mentioning closer Cross-Strait relations but nothing about Taiwan's sovereignty and national security.[7]

Tsai questioned Ma's stand on Taiwan's sovereign status. Ma emphasized the importance of the so-called 1992 Consensus and called Tsai an Taiwan independence extremist. Tsai criticized Ma's government for not answering her question and labeling others.[8]

After former President Chen Shui-bian's acknowledgement of transferring past campaign funds overseas, Tsai apologized to the public and also said that the DPP would not try to cover up for Chen's alleged misdeeds.[9] Tsai has also vowed to weed out any and all corrupt members in the party and has set up a special internal investigative committee for the task. Tsai has been impartial in light of Chen's acknowledgement.[10]

On April 25, 2010, Tsai participated in a televised debate against President and Kuomintang chairman Ma Ying-jeou over a proposed trade deal with China. While President Ma believed that the agreement with mainland China, called the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), would increase Taiwanese exports to China and lower unemployment rates, Tsai said it "will force Taiwan to open up for cheap Chinese exports eventually" and certain domestic industries will be harmed by the mainland trade invasion. Tsai also said that the pact "will make Taiwan lose its independence in cross-strait relations and become a Chinese parasite" and that Taiwan should negotiate with China under the multilateral-framework World Trade Organization, which would offer more trade protections and emphasize Taiwan's distinct status.[11]

Under Tsai's leadership, along with some of KMT's unpopular policies, the DPP has been regaining momentum in elections since 2009, after the major defeats from 2006 to 2008.[12] In 2010, she was re-elected as the chairperson of the DPP.

Tsai made a controversial statement in May 2010 claiming that the Republic of China was a "government-in-exile" non-native to Taiwan;[13] however on 8 October 2011, two days prior to the 100-year anniversary celebrations of the Double Ten Day, Tsai changed her statement, stating that "The ROC is Taiwan, Taiwan is the ROC, and the current ROC government is no longer ruled by a non-native political power".[13][14]

Tsai resigned as chairperson of the DPP after losing her 2012 presidential election bid to incumbent Ma Ying-jeou.[15]

Second stint as DPP chairperson[edit]

On March 15, 2014, Tsai announced that she would once more run for party chief of the DPP against incumbent Su Tseng-chang and Hsieh Chang-ting.[16] However, both Su and Hsieh dropped out of the election. Tsai defeated Kaohsiung County deputy commissioner Kuo Tai-lin by 79,676 votes.[17][18]

2012 presidential campaign[edit]

On March 11, 2011, Tsai Ing-wen officially announced to run for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Progressive Party.[19] On April 27, 2011, Tsai became the first female presidential candidate in Taiwan[20] after she defeated former Premier Su Tseng-chang by a small margin in a nation-wide phone poll (of more than 15,000 samples) that served as the party's primary. Tsai ran against incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang and James Soong of the People First Party in the 5th direct presidential election,[21] which was held on January 14, 2012. Garnering 45% of the vote, she conceded defeat to President Ma in an international press conference, resigning her seat as Chairman of the DPP. She later consoled many of her supporters gathered at her campaign headquarters, many of whom were in tears. She encouraged them to stand strong as "Taiwan still needs a voice of opposition."

"The ruling Kuomintang has alleged that Tsai approved government investment in Yu Chang Biologics Co. when she was vice premier in early 2007 with the full knowledge that she would leave the Cabinet and chair the company later in the year. Tsai has denied the allegations, saying she did not manage the government investment and was only invited to chair Yu Chang by prominent scientists after she left the Cabinet."[22]


  1. ^ "Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)|Who's Who|WantChinaTimes.com". Wantchinatimes.com. 1956-08-31. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  2. ^ Ing-Wen Tsai PhD. "Ing-Wen Tsai: Executive Profile & Biography - BusinessWeek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Legislators". Legislative Yuan. Retrieved 2009-04-09. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Taiwan's new premier picks tough strategist as deputy in limited Cabinet reshuffle" (Press release). The China Post. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  5. ^ "跌破眼鏡!蔡英文改行 當生技公司董事長" (Press release) (in traditional Chinese). ChinaReviewNews. 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  6. ^ "創意組合 蔡英文會是馬英九的副手搭檔嗎?" (Press release) (in traditional Chinese). China Times. 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  7. ^ "New DPP chief bothered by what Ma did not say" (Press release). Taipei Times. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  8. ^ "Tsai rejects independence criticism" (Press release). Taipei Times. 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  9. ^ AFP Taiwan ex-president quits party over alleged money laundering, August 15, 2008
  10. ^ http://tw.news.yahoo.com/article/url/d/a/080818/5/14bxj.html CNA 扁匯款案 民進黨廉政會一個半月完成報告, August 18, 2008
  11. ^ "Taiwan president and opposition debate China deal" (Press release). Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  12. ^ DPP sweeps both seats in legislative by-elections
  13. ^ a b 10 October 2011, KMT blasts Tsai Ing-wen for flip-flop on R.O.C., Taiwan News
  14. ^ 10 October 2011, DPP chair attends flag-raising ceremony in southern Taiwan, Focus Taiwan News
  15. ^ "Tsai steps down as DPP chair after election defeat" Focus Taiwan News Channel. Retrieved 2012.01.14
  16. ^ "Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen announces bid for DPP chairperson". Xinhua News Agency. March 15, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  17. ^ Wang, Chris (26 May 2014). "Tsai Ing-wen elected as DPP chair". Taipei Times. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  18. ^ Chang, Jung-hsiang; Hsu, Elizabeth (May 25, 2014). "Tsai Ing-wen wins DPP chair election (update)". Central News Agency. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  19. ^ Tsai Ing-wen officially launches presidential bid
  20. ^ Taiwan's first female presidential candidate picked
  21. ^ Taiwan Opposition Makes Its Pick
  22. ^ Taiwan DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen strongly defends integrity in biotech investment case

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Su Chi
Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council
Succeeded by
Joseph Wu
Preceded by
Wu Rong-i
Vice Premier of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Chiou I-jen
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Hsieh
Leader of the Democratic Progressive Party
Succeeded by
Chen Chu
Preceded by
Su Tseng-chang
Leader of the Democratic Progressive Party