Diane Lee

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Diane Lee
Lee Ching-an

Member of the Legislative Yuan
In office
1 February 2008 – 8 January 2009
Succeeded byChiang Nai-shin
ConstituencyTaipei 6th
In office
1 February 1993 – 31 January 2002
Personal details
Born (1959-01-17) 17 January 1959 (age 60)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political partyIndependent (2008–present)
Other political
People First Party (2000–2006)
Kuomintang (before 2000; 2006–2008)
RelationsLee Ching-hua (brother)
ParentsLee Huan (father)

Diane Lee (Chinese: 李慶安; born 17 January 1959) is a Taiwanese former politician. She naturalised as a U.S. citizen in 1991, but later relinquished U.S. citizenship. Lee, a Kuomintang member, held elected public office in Taiwan from 1994 to 2009, first as a Taipei City Councilwoman and then for three terms as a legislator representing Daan District, Taipei City.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Lee is the youngest of four children born to Lee Huan and Pan Hsiang-ning. Her two brothers are Lee Ching-chung and Lee Ching-hua. Lee Ching-chu is her older sister.[3]

Political careers[edit]

On 28 March 2001, Lee was assaulted by notorious organised criminal and legislator Lo Fu-chu during a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Education and Culture Committee,[4] after she implied that he had attempted to interfere with the selection of board members for a public educational institution that was experiencing a corruption scandal and called him a "gangster".[5][6] Lo originally denied that he had assaulted Lee, until a video of the incident (which Lo did not know existed) was shown on Taiwanese television.[5] Lee was hospitalised following the incident with a slight concussion.[7] The resulting scandal virtually ended Lo's political career.[4] She charged him with assault, but later forgave Lo and reached a settlement.[8][9]

The next year, she accused Twu Shiing-jer of assaulting a restaurateur. Lee apologized after the incident, but did not heed calls to resign.[10]

2008 legislative election[edit]

In May 2008, opposition Democratic Progressive Party politicians accused Lee of holding United States citizenship while sitting in the Legislative Yuan after winning the 2008 Republic of China legislative election on 12 January 2008, in contravention of nationality and election laws.[11] This sparked Taiwan's authorities to inquire with the United States Department of State regarding Lee's nationality status. Lee maintained that she had lost U.S. citizenship automatically upon being sworn in as a Taipei City Councilwoman in 1994.[12] The U.S. Department of State issued a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in late December 2008 stating that Lee had been previously determined to be a U.S. citizen and issued with a passport and that no request for determination of loss of nationality had been made, but that a determination could be made on presentation of further evidence that an act causing loss of nationality had been performed. A finding of loss of nationality would be retroactive to the date of the aforesaid act.[13] However, amidst rising controversy, Lee resigned in January 2009.[1]

No. Candidate Party Votes Ratio Elected
1 Yue Ke Ming (樂可銘) Red heart tw.svg Taiwan Constitution Association 89 0.06%
2 Diane Lee Emblem of the Kuomintang.svg Kuomintang 99,294 66.80% Yes
3 Wang Bao Shan (王保善) Home Party 417 0.28%
4 Yu Shao Jyun (余少鈞) Blue white green.svg Hakka Party 131 0.09%
5 Luo Wen-jia Green Taiwan in White Cross.svg Democratic Progressive Party 48,240 32.46%
6 Gu Wun Fa (古文發) Democratic Freedom Party (民主自由黨) 155 0.10%
7 Lin Jyun Sian (林俊賢) Taiwan Farmers' Party 221 0.15%
8 Lin Yu Fa (林裕發) Red heart tw.svg Taiwan Constitution Association 87 0.06%

On 16 January 2009, the American Institute in Taiwan issued a letter to clarify that under United States nationality law, a person may lose U.S. citizenship by committing certain acts with the intention of losing U.S. citizenship, as long as the person's conduct after the said act is consistent with that of a non-U.S. citizen. Lee's lawyer Lee Yung-jan argued that this supported Lee's earlier statement that she had automatically lost U.S. citizenship upon taking office, and that her subsequent conduct such as travelling to the U.S. on a Republic of China passport instead of a United States passport confirmed her intention to lose citizenship.[14][15] However, the Central Election Commission revoked Lee's status as an elected official in February 2009.[16] The CEC allowed Lee to keep over NT$8.6 million in election subsidies because the Election and Recall Act for Public Servants did not preclude natural-born dual citizens from running in local elections. Foreign citizenship must only be renounced before the oath of office is administered.[17] Her name appeared in the Internal Revenue Service's Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Expatriate in the final quarter of 2009.[2]

In February 2010, Lee was found guilty in the Taipei District Court of fraud and forgery relating to the citizenship issue.[18] She appealed the sentence to the Taiwan High Court, which acquitted her in August 2010. Her case went to the Supreme Court of the Republic of China, which upheld her acquittal.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Diane Lee resigns in citizenship row". China Post. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b Angie Kaminski, Internal Revenue Service (26 February 2010). "Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen To Expatriate, as Required by Section 6039G". Federal Register. 75: 9028. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  3. ^ Hsu, Crystal (14 October 2002). "Diane Lee's fall from grace". Taipei Times. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b Low, Stephanie (31 March 2001). "Legislature Censures Lo Fu-chu". Taipei Times. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b Diamond, Lary (1 April 2001). "How Democratic Is Taiwan? Five Key Challenges for Democratic Development and Consolidation". Symposium on The Transition from One-Party Rule: Taiwan's New Government and Cross-Straits Relations (PDF). Columbia University. pp. 5–6. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  6. ^ Doufu, Joe (8 January 2012). "Everyone Admires a Witty Comeback". Taipei Times. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  7. ^ Chuang, Jimmy (1 February 2002). "Lo Fu-chu Has His Assault Sentenced Raised a Notch". Taipei Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  8. ^ Chuang, Jimmy (9 March 2002). "Lo may avoid assault rap". Taipei Times. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  9. ^ Tsai, Ting-i (5 June 2002). "Lo apologizes to Lee for slapping her in the face". Taipei Times. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  10. ^ Lin, Mei-chun (7 October 2002). "Lawmakers demand Lee resign". Taipei Times. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  11. ^ Wang, Flora (24 May 2008). "Legislature approves nationality probe". Taipei Times. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Diane Lee under U.S. State Dept. probe over citizenship". China Post. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Legislator Lee Ching-an given an ultimatum on nationality". China Post. 27 December 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Lawyer hails AIT response to Lee citizenship issue". China Post. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  15. ^ "AIT's letters back Diane Lee: lawyer". Taipei Times. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  16. ^ Loa, Lok-sin (7 February 2009). "CEC revokes Diane Lee's elected status". Taipei Times. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  17. ^ Lu, Meggie (12 February 2009). "Green Party Taiwan picks legislative choice". Taipei Times. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Ex-lawmaker Diane Lee sentenced to two years over U.S. nationality". Taiwan News. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  19. ^ Hsiang, Cheng-chen; Lee, Yu-hsun (4 November 2011). "Supreme Court upholds acquittal of Diane Lee". Taipei Times. Retrieved 9 May 2012.