Chen Chien-jen

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Chen Chien-jen

Vice President Chen Chien-jen.png
Vice President of the Republic of China
In office
20 May 2016 – 20 May 2020
PresidentTsai Ing-wen
Preceded byWu Den-yih
Succeeded byLai Ching-te
Minister of the National Science Council
In office
25 January 2006 – 19 May 2008
DeputyWu Tsung-tsong
Yang Hung-duen
Preceded byMaw-Kuen Wu
Succeeded byLee Lou-chuang
Minister of Health
In office
18 May 2003 – 1 February 2005
PremierYu Shyi-kun
Preceded byTwu Shiing-jer
Succeeded byWang Hsiu-hong (Acting)
Hou Sheng-mao
Personal details
Born (1951-06-06) 6 June 1951 (age 69)
Cishan, Kaohsiung County, Taiwan (now Kaohsiung)
CitizenshipRepublic of China
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Lo Fong-ping (羅鳳蘋)[1][2]
ResidencePing’an Residence
Alma materNational Taiwan University
Johns Hopkins University
AwardsOrder of Dr. Sun Yat-sen
Chen Chien-jen
Traditional Chinese陳建仁

Chen Chien-jen[3] OS KSG KHS (Chinese: 陳建仁, born 6 June 1951) is a Taiwanese epidemiologist and politician. He joined the Chen Shui-bian presidential administration in 2003 as leader of the Department of Health, serving through 2005. He later headed the National Science Council between 2006 and 2008. Chen then served as a vice president of Academia Sinica from 2011 to 2015. Later that year, Chen joined Tsai Ing-wen on the Democratic Progressive Party presidential ticket. He served one term as Vice President of the Republic of China, from 2016 to 2020.

He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Fu Jen Catholic University before running for the presidential election and served as Fu Jen's Robert J. Ronald Chair Professor after leaving office.[4][5][6]

Early and personal life[edit]

Sir Chen Chien-jen was born at his family home in Cishan, Kaohsiung County, in 1951,[1] as one of eight children.[7] His father, Chen Hsin-an, served as Kaohsiung County Magistrate from 1954 to 1957.[8] Chen's mother Chen Wei Lien-chih managed a daycare.[7] Chen is married to Lo Fong-ping,[9] whose family is from Nanjing.[10]

Chen Chien-jen is a devout Catholic. Chen and his wife were invited to visit the Vatican several times by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. He has been invested as a Knight of the Equestrian of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (2010)[11] and a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great (2013).[12] He served on the board of trustees of Fu Jen Catholic University.[13]

Career as researcher[edit]

Chen obtained a master's degree in public health from the National Taiwan University, and received his Sc.D in human genetics and epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 1977 and 1982, respectively.[8][14] He began his medical career by researching hepatitis B, and helped raise awareness about vaccination for the disease in Taiwan.[8] Chen further researched on the liver cancer risk of people with hepatitis B.[15] Chen also discovered a link from arsenic to blackfoot disease [zh].[8][16] The arsenic research lead to the revision of international health standards for arsenic exposure.[15] Between 2011 and November 2015,[17] Chen was a vice president of Academia Sinica.[18][19]

Political career[edit]

Chen served as Minister of Health from 2003 to 2005.[20][21] As health minister, he was praised for effectively managing the SARS epidemic through quarantine and screening procedures,[15] despite Taiwan's non-membership in the World Health Organization complicating the coordination of research efforts.[22] His successor Hou Sheng-mao credited Chen with reforming the National Health Insurance program.[23] Chen led the National Science Council from 2006 to 2008.[24]

Vice presidency[edit]

On 16 November 2015, Chen was confirmed as the running mate for Tsai Ing-wen in the 2016 Taiwanese presidential election[25] after media speculation earlier in the month.[26][27] During the campaign, Chen became known by the nickname Brother Da-jen (大仁哥), after a character portrayed by Chen Bolin on the romantic drama In Time with You.[28] Chen is the first Catholic vice presidential nominee in Taiwan.[29] On 16 January 2016, Tsai and Chen won the presidential election in a landslide.[30] Chen took up his post as Vice President on 20 May 2016.[31]

e • d Summary of the 2016 Taiwanese presidential election results
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Democratic Progressive Party Tsai Ing-wen Chen Chien-jen 6,894,744 56.12%
Kuomintang Eric Chu Wang Ju-hsuan 3,813,365 31.04%
People First Party James Soong Hsu Hsin-ying 1,576,861 12.84%
Valid votes 12,284,970 98.69%
Invalid and blank votes 163,332 1.31%
Total votes 12,448,302 100%
Eligible voters and turnout 18,782,991 66.27%

In March 2019, Chen announced that he would not seek a second term as vice president alongside Tsai.[32] Chen received international attention for his role in leading Taiwan's response to the COVID-19 pandemic due to his unique position as both vice president and his epidemiologist background.[33][34] Days before he stepped down from the vice presidency, Chen stated that he would return to the Academia Sinica as a research fellow and thus forgo the pension connected to his political office.[35]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Vice President Chen". Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved 7 September 2019. Mr. Chen Chien-jen was born in Cishan Township, Kaohsiung County (now merged into Kaohsiung City) in 1951.{...}The Vatican has invited Mr. Chen and his wife Ms. Lo Fong-ping to visit several times, where they have been received by Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.
  2. ^ Ku Chuan, Matt Yu, Elizabeth Hsu (1 January 2019). "President sings anthem at New Year's Day flag-hoisting ceremony". Focus Taiwan (in English and Chinese). Retrieved 7 September 2019. The president arrived at the ceremony venue at 6:20 a.m. accompanied by Chen, Chen's wife Lo Fong-ping (羅鳳蘋), Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Vice President Chen". Office of President Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved 12 May 2020. Mr. Chen Chien-jen was born in Cishan Township, Kaohsiung County (now merged into Kaohsiung City) in 1951.
  4. ^ The18th Session of the Board of Trustees
  5. ^ 輔仁大學學校財團法人董事會第 18 屆第 16 次會議摘要
  6. ^ 輔仁大學醫學院聘請中研院陳建仁院士 擔任第一屆劉建仁神父紀念講座教授
  7. ^ a b "Chen Chien-jen: Vice President of the Republic of China" (PDF). Taiwan Today. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2018.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d Hsu, Elizabeth (16 January 2016). "Chen Chien-jen vows to be more than just figurehead vice president". Central News Agency. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  9. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Hou, Elaine (5 August 2016). "Taiwan's VP to attend Dominican Republic's presidential inauguration". Central News Agency. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  10. ^ Strong, Matthew (26 December 2015). "Chen calls for end to party polarization". Taiwan News. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ "【禮儀】11/14 耶路撒冷聖墓騎士冊封大典". 耶穌會中華省. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  12. ^ "八位新封聖大額我略爵士" (PDF). 天主教會台灣地區主教團. 2013-08-05. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-16. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  13. ^ Gaetan, Victor (19 December 2017). "Taiwan's Catholic Church: Quest for National Identity". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  14. ^ Chang, Yun-ping (17 May 2003). "Yu accepts DOH chief's resignation". Taipei Times. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Cyranoski, David (13 January 2016). "Taiwan's SARS hero poised to be vice-president". Nature. 529 (7585): 136–137. Bibcode:2016Natur.529..136C. doi:10.1038/529136a. PMID 26762435. S2CID 4450512.
  16. ^ Tseng, Chin-Hsiao; Chong, Choon-Khim; Tseng, Ching-Ping; Centeno, José A. (February 2007). "Blackfoot Disease in Taiwan: Its Link with Inorganic Arsenic Exposure from Drinking Water". Ambio. 36 (1): 82–84. doi:10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[82:bditil];2. JSTOR 4315790. PMID 17408196.
  17. ^ "DPP vice presidential candidate wants to do more to help young people". Taiwan News. Central News Agency. 26 December 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  18. ^ Vice President Chien-Jen Chen, Academia Sinica, archived from the original on 2015-11-17, retrieved 2015-11-13
  19. ^ Copper, John F. (2017). Taiwan at a Tipping Point: The Democratic Progressive Party's Return to Power. Lexington Books. p. 140. ISBN 9781498569705.
  20. ^ Wu, Debby (18 May 2003). "New chief takes over at the DOH". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  21. ^ Wu, Debby (19 May 2003). "Tough times lie ahead for health chief". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  22. ^ Cyranoski, David (17 April 2003). "Taiwan left isolated in fight against SARS". Nature. 422 (652): 652. Bibcode:2003Natur.422Q.652C. doi:10.1038/422652a. PMC 7095487. PMID 12700727.
  23. ^ "Officials receive awards". Taipei Times. 29 March 2003. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  24. ^ Chiu, Yu-Tzu (23 January 2006). "Lu offers some advice to new Cabinet team". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  25. ^ Hsu, Stacy (17 November 2015). "DPP's Tsai picks Chen Chien-jen". Taipei Times. p. 1.
  26. ^ 副手是陳建仁?蔡英文:宣布了就知道 (in Chinese), United Daily News
  27. ^ "Academia Sinica VP confirmed as running mate of Tsai Ing-wen". Focus Taiwan. Central News Agency. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  28. ^ Tseng, Wei-chen (20 December 2015). "Reporter's Notebook: DPP's Chen in demand, KMT's Wang shunned". Taipei Times. p. 3.
  29. ^ "Taiwan elects first Catholic vice president". Union of Catholic Asian News. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  30. ^ Loa, Iok-sin; Hsu, Stacy; Gerber, Abraham (17 January 2016). "ELECTIONS: Madam President". Taipei Times. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  31. ^ Austin Ramzy: Tsai Ing-wen Sworn In as Taiwan’s President, as China Watches Closely. In: The New York Times, 19 May 2016.
  32. ^ Yeh, Su-ping; Su, Lung-chi; Wang, Flor (29 March 2019). "Vice president declares he won't run for second term with Tsai". Central News Agency. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  33. ^ "Taiwan's weapon against coronavirus: An epidemiologist as vice president". Today. 10 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  34. ^ Hernández, Javier C.; Horton, Chris (9 May 2020). "Taiwan's Weapon Against Coronavirus: An Epidemiologist as Vice President". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  35. ^ "VP to give up pension, return to research". Taipei Times. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  36. ^ a b 2005 Presidential Science Prize – Life Sciences – Academician Chien-Jen Chen (PDF), Ministry of Science and Technology
  37. ^ a b Raphaël Zbinden : „Un chevalier catholique à la tête de Taïwan",, 20. Januar 2016 (fr.)
  38. ^ Lu, Hsin-hui; Kao, Evelyn (3 May 2017). "Vice president, WTO representative elected to NAS". Central News Agency. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  39. ^ Yeh, Su-ping; Ko, Lin (18 May 2020). "VP awarded Order of Dr. Sun Yat-sen with Grand Cordon". Central News Agency. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  40. ^ 影音》中山大學沙灘畢典 前副總統陳建仁獲頒名譽博士

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Wu Den-yih
Vice President of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Lai Ching-te