|ROC Representative to United States|
1 January 1979 – 9 May 1979
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Shah Konsin|
|ROC Ambassador to United States|
9 April 1971 – 31 December 1978
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Born||2 July 1909
Hongkou, Shanghai, Qing Dynasty
|Died||12 July 2007
|Nationality||Republic of China|
|Alma mater||Yenching University
University of Missouri
James C.H. Shen (Chinese: 沈劍虹; pinyin: Chén Jiànhóng; July 2, 1909 Shanghai – July 12, 2007 Taipei) was a Taiwanese diplomat. Shen served as the last official Republic of China ambassador to the United States before the U.S. switched its diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China in 1979.
James Shen was born in Shanghai, Qing Dynasty in 1909. Shen was educated at Yenching University, which was located in Beijing. He earned his Masters degree in journalism at the University of Missouri in 1935.
Additionally, Shen began work as an analyst and commentator for the Chinese government. His early government positions included "section chief" of the Ministry of Information's international department and as a department director for the Government Information Office (GIO).
Shen served for a time as an English-Chinese language interpreter and secretary for Chinese Nationalist leader Chang Kai-shek. He was then appointed spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and head of the GIO.
Shen fled to Taiwan with the Nationalists when Chang Kai-shek moved his government to Taipei following their defeat by Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949. Shen served as Taiwan's ambassador to Australia from 1966 until 1968 before returning to Taiwan to become vice minister of foreign affairs between 1968 and 1971.
James Shen was appointed as Taiwan's ambassador to the United States in 1971. Shen arrived in Washington D.C. to assume his post just month's before U.S. President Richard Nixon visited mainland China on an official visit. While in China, Nixon signed a communiqué with Zedong's government. The communique officially created the United States's One-China policy which acknowledged Taiwan as part of China, not as the legitimate government of all of China or an independent state. The communique was a huge blow to Taiwan's Nationalist government, which maintained that it alone was the sole legitimate government of all of China.
James Shen continued his efforts throughout the 1970s to persuade the United States to continue to recognize Taiwan and the Nationalists. The Nationalists and the United States had been important World War II and Cold War allies until the Nixon Administration. However, Shen's diplomacy proved in vain. The United States, under President Jimmy Carter, officially severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 as part of its One-China policy.
James Shen returned to Taipei, in January 1979 and retired following the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S. He lived in Taiwan for the remainder of his life. He wrote a highly critical book about the US withdrawing its recognition of Taiwan, the event of which he was a first-hand witness.
Since 1979, Taiwan no longer maintains an embassy in the United States, since there are no official diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, Taiwan continues to operate a representative office in Washington D.C., called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, with offices in twelve other American cities.
- "James Shen, Taiwan's last ambassador to US, dies at 98". The New York Sun. Associated Press. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
- "Ex-envoy to U.S. James Shen passes away due to illness". The China Post. 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
- Shen, James; Myers, Robert J. (1983). The U.S. & Free China: how the U.S. sold out its ally. Acropolis Books. ISBN 0-87491-463-9.