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Chai Trong-rong

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Chai Trong-rong
2008 CIPFG Global Human Rights Torch Relay in Taiwan Taipei City Stage Trong Tsai.jpg
Chai Trong-rong at 2008 CIPFG Global Human Rights Torch Relay in Taiwan
Member of the Legislative Yuan
In office
1 February 2008 – 31 January 2012
ConstituencyRepublic of China
In office
4 December 1997 – 31 January 2008
Preceded byVincent Siew
In office
1 February 1993 – 31 January 1996
Succeeded byVincent Siew
Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (acting)
In office
21 September 2007 – 15 October 2007
Preceded byYu Shyi-kun
Succeeded byChen Shui-bian
1st President of the WUFI
In office
Succeeded byPeng Ming-min
Personal details
Born(1935-06-13)13 June 1935
Hotei Village, Tōseki District, Tainan Prefecture, Japanese Taiwan (modern-day Budai, Chiayi County, Taiwan)
Died11 January 2014(2014-01-11) (aged 78)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political partyDemocratic Progressive Party
Alma materNational Taiwan University
University of Tennessee
University of Southern California
Chai Trong-rong
Traditional Chinese蔡同榮
Simplified Chinese蔡同荣

Chai Trong-rong (Chinese: 蔡同榮; pinyin: Cài Tóngróng; Wade–Giles: Ts‘ài4 T‘ung2-jung2; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chhòa Tông-êng; 13 June 1935 – 11 January 2014), sometimes known in English as Trong Chai, was a Taiwanese politician.

Born in Japanese-era Taiwan, Chai earned his master's and doctorate degrees in the United States. He was a pro-democracy advocate and founded the Association for a Plebiscite (Chinese: 公民投票促進會; pinyin: Gōngmín Tóupiaò Cùjìnhùi) and Formosa Television.[1][2]

A member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chai was elected a national-level legislator multiple times, serving in the Legislative Yuan from 1993 to 1996 and again from 1997 to 2012. He took part in three of the DPP chairmanship elections. However, he lost all three of the elections.

Early life and education[edit]

Chai Trong-rong was born on 13 June 1935, in Hotei Village, Tōseki District, Tainan Prefecture, Japanese Taiwan (modern-day Budai, Chiayi County, Taiwan). At the time, Taiwan was still part of the Empire of Japan. After the Second World War, his father served as Chiayi County council member for two terms.[3]

After his graduation from the National Tainan First Senior High School, Chai attended the National Taiwan University (NTU) studying political science. He later switched his major to law and graduated from the NTU College of Law in 1958. He was then conscripted and served in the Republic of China (Taiwan) Army for sixteen months.[3]

In 1960, Chai went to the United States and studied at the University of Tennessee, where he earned his master's degree in political science. As a result of participating in the independence movement of Taiwan, Chai was placed on the Kuomintang's black list and was unable to return to Taiwan.[3] He continued studying and attended the University of Southern California, earning his doctorate in 1969.[4] In 1986, Chai became a professor of political science at the City University of New York.[4]

Entry into politics[edit]

Chai established the World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI) in 1970 and became its first president. Then in 1982, he founded the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), serving as its first president as well.[3]

Chai returned to Taiwan to attend a funeral in June 1990.[5] He was issued a new passport and joined the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shortly after his arrival. He founded the Association for a Plebiscite in November. The goal of the association was to reform through the will of the people.[3]

Legislative career[edit]

Chai was elected a legislator representing Chiayi City in 1992. Although he was not reelected in 1995 running against Vincent Siew of the Kuomintang, he was elected into the Legislative Yuan again in the 1997 by-election and reelected in 1998, 2001 and 2004.[4] During these terms, Chai was involved in the National Defense, Overseas Compatriot Affairs, and Foreign Affairs Committees.[6][7]

He supported the localization policies of the Chen Shui-bian administration. In 2005, he urged the Ministry of Education to get rid of contexts of "aboveboard Chinese" (堂堂正正的中國人; a Chinese nationalistic term imposed by the Chiang Kai-shek regime after World War II) from the back cover of elementary school workbooks.[8] In response to the Anti-Secession Law of the People's Republic of China, Chai and legislator Chuang He-chi proposed draft for an "Anti-Annexation Law."[9][10]

Chairmanship campaigns[edit]

Despite the fact that Chai was endorsed by renowned pharmacologist Chen-Yuan Lee, he lost the DPP chairmanship election in 1996.[3] However, the resignation of Su Tseng-chang as DPP chairperson in 2005 led to Chai's decision to run again. He was the first in the party to register his candidacy.[11]

Chai was one of the three candidates who registered. He was endorsed by vice president Annette Lu and foreign minister Mark Chen. The election was held in January 2006. Former Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Yu Shyi-kun won with over 54% of the votes while Chai received 36%.[12]

In 2008, after the defeat of Frank Hsieh in the presidential election, DPP candidate Hsieh resigned as chairman and announced the date for the chairmanship election. Chai declared his candidacy on April 14.[13]

Although the DPP passed a resolution to ban all factions within the party in 2006,[14] the dissent between former members of different factions was still present and was thought to be one of the factors that led to DPP's loss in the presidential election. Chai, along with Koo Kwang-ming emphasized the importance of consolidating the party's policy on independence, while Tsai Ing-wen focused on the cooperation of former factions and expansion of the party's support base.[15]

Chai was supported by Tainan City mayor Hsu Tain-tsair,[16] but decided to withdraw from the race in May and gave his support to another candidate Koo Kwang-ming.[17] However, it was too late to officially withdraw from the election, and Chai received 5 percent of the votes.[18]

Personal life and death[edit]

Chai was married to Tsai Li-jung.[19] He died on 11 January 2014 due to multiple organ failure.[20][21]


  1. ^ Rigger, Shelley (September 3, 2003). "New Crisis in the Taiwan Strait?". Foreign Policy Research Institute. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  2. ^ Jui-yun, Lung; Lilian Wu (December 19, 2013). "Ex-lawmaker still 'not out of danger' after stroke surgery". Central News Agency. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f 蔡同榮——"蔡公投". Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c 立法委員蔡同榮自傳. Archived from the original on October 22, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  5. ^ Wang, Chris (February 19, 2014). "Concert held to commemorate DPP's Chai Trong-rong". Taipei Times. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "Member Profile (7th)". Legislative Yuan (in Chinese). Archived from the original on June 9, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  7. ^ "Member Profile (4th)". Legislative Yuan (in Chinese). Retrieved July 3, 2008.[dead link]
  8. ^ "作業簿標語 立委促正名". Liberty Times. Taiwan (ROC). Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  9. ^ 反制中國 立委擬反併吞法草案. Liberty Times. Taiwan (ROC). Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  10. ^ 與彼岸鬥法 泛綠紛提案. Liberty Times. Taiwan (ROC). Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Mo Yan-chih (December 17, 2005). "Lu confirms she won't run for post". Taipei Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on August 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  12. ^ "Yu Shyi-kun wins DPP Chair election". Democratic Progressive Party. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  13. ^ Ko Shu-ling (April 15, 2008). "Chai makes bid for DPP chair". Taipei Times.
  14. ^ Huang, Jewel (July 24, 2006). "DPP votes to do away with factions". Taipei Times.
  15. ^ "DPP contenders debate on party direction, policy". The Taipei Times (Press release). May 11, 2008. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  16. ^ 選黨主席 市長挺蔡同榮. Liberty Times (Press release) (in Chinese). Taiwan (ROC). May 12, 2008. Archived from the original on May 20, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
  17. ^ "Chai pulls out of DPP leadership race". The Taipei Times (Press release). May 13, 2008. Archived from the original on May 23, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
  18. ^ 第12屆黨主席選舉投(開)票數統計表. Democratic Progressive Party. Archived from the original on June 28, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
  19. ^ Wang, Flora (January 21, 2007). "DPP legislators angered by FTV show". Taipei Times. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Huang, Kelven; Chen Wei-ting; Sabine Cheng; Tony Liao; Y.F. Low & Elizabeth Hsu (January 11, 2014). "Ex-DPP lawmaker's death saddens friends, former colleagues". Central News Agency. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  21. ^ Hsin-fang, Lee; William Lowther (January 12, 2014). "Independence pioneer Chai dies at 78". Taipei Times. Retrieved January 27, 2014.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New title President of the WUFI
Succeeded by
Peng Ming-min
Preceded by
Yu Shyi-kun
Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (acting)
21 September – 15 October 2007
Succeeded by
Chen Shui-bian