Lien Chan (Chinese: 連戰; pinyin: Lián Zhàn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Liân Chiàn; born August 27, 1936, in Xi'an, China) is a politician in Taiwan. He was Premier of the Republic of China from 1993 to 1997, Vice President of the Republic of China from 1996 to 2000, and was the Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) from 2000 to 2005, apart from various ministerial posts he had also held. Upon his retirement as KMT Chairman in August 2005, he was given the title Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang. He is highly credited after holding a groundbreaking visit to Mainland China in his capacity as the Chairman of the Kuomintang to meet with the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of China on 29 April 2005, the first meeting between the two party leaders after the end of Chinese Civil War in 1949, which subsequently helped thaw the long-stalled cross-strait relations.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Political career
- 3 Cross-strait relations
- 4 APEC Representative
- 5 Name
- 6 Family
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early life and education
Lien Chan was born in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China as the only child of Lien Chen-tung and Chao Lan-k'un (趙蘭坤). His paternal grandfather, Lien Heng, was the writer of The General History of Taiwan (台灣通史), a book that is often cited for the quote, "Taiwan's sorrow is that it has no history." Lien earned a Bachelor's degree in political science from the National Taiwan University in 1957 and a Master of Arts in International Law and Diplomacy in 1961. He received a PhD in political science in 1965 from the University of Chicago and married former Miss Republic of China Fang Yu the same year. Lien is also currently a Trustee Emeritus on the Board of Trustees to the University of Chicago.
Lien held assistant professorships of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1966 to 1967 and the University of Connecticut from 1967 to 1968. He returned to Taiwan in 1968 to become visiting professor of political science at the National Taiwan University, serving as chairman of the Political Science Department and dean of the Graduate Institute of Political Science the following year.
His official positions included Ambassador to El Salvador (1975–1976), Minister of Communications and Transportation (1981–1987), Vice Premier (1987–1988), Foreign Minister (1988–1990) before becoming Governor of Taiwan Province (1990–1993). In 1993 he was appointed Premier of the Republic of China. In 1996, Lee Teng-hui selected him as running mate in the presidential election. After Lee and Lien won the election for the presidency and the vice-presidency respectively, Lien retained the premiership. This proved unpopular, and opposition parties claimed that this was possibly in conflict with the constitution, leading to a Council of Grand Justices decision ruling that Lien's retention of these dual roles was "constitutional but inappropriate." In response, on 31 August 1997, he resigned as Premier but remained Vice President. Before becoming Chairman of the KMT, he was Vice Chairman (1993–2000) and a member of the Central Committee (1984–2000).
|1996 Taiwan presidential election result|
|Presidential candidate||Vice presidential candidate||Party||Votes||%|
|Lee Teng-hui||Lien Chan||Kuomintang||5,813,699||54.0|
|Peng Ming-min||Frank Hsieh||Democratic Progressive Party||2,274,586||21.1|
|Lin Yang-kang||Hau Pei-tsun||Independent||1,603,790||14.9|
|Chen Li-an||Wang Ching-feng||Independent||1,074,044||9.9|
Lien took an active role as a representative of Lee Teng-hui in quasi-official diplomacy in the mid-1990s. One of the greatest moments of his career is his 1995 meeting with Václav Havel, in which Lien likened the democratic reforms of the Lee Teng-hui administration as being similar to the Velvet Revolution.
In contrast to his political opponents, Lien Chan, while vice president, was generally considered arrogant, aloof and out of touch with the public.
He finished third in the 2000 presidential elections despite having the backing of the KMT. One popular theory on Taiwan, which has some support from Lee's subsequent actions, has that Lien Chan was chosen to head the KMT's ticket by President Lee Teng-hui in a deliberate effort to destroy the KMT. Many have noted in support of this theory that Lien has never been elected on his own to any political office, and his ill-fated campaign for President was the first campaign that he ever undertook. During the 2000 Presidential campaign Lien campaigned on a platform of following in Lee's footsteps and continuing localization reforms. He touted a "3-S" slogan of "Safety, Security and Stability", claiming the selection of a DPP candidate would bring China's wrath and a return of fascism.
|President||Vice President||Total votes||Percentage|
|Democratic Progressive Party||Chen Shui-bian||Annette Lu||4,977,737||39.3%||
|Independent||James Soong||Chang Chau-hsiung||4,664,932||36.8%||
|Kuomintang||Lien Chan||Vincent Siew||2,925,513||23.1%||
|Independent||Hsu Hsin-liang||Josephine Chu||79,429||0.63%||
|New Party||Li Ao||Elmer Fung||16,782||0.13%||
|Total||12,786,671||82.69% voter turnout|
Part of Lien's defeat may have been due to the massive 7.4 earthquake on September 21, 1999. As the Vice President and KMT candidate, Lien bore the brunt of public dissatisfaction with government relief efforts, in one instance being chased onto his helicopter by furious victims. In a poll following the earthquake, the undecided vote rose to 47%.
After the defeat of the KMT in 2000, Lien was able to achieve Lee's ouster and assume the leadership of the KMT. He had adopted a platform to erase the Lee effect from Taiwan and "Return to the Good Old Days", a call to return to the heyday of Chiang Ching-kuo. The KMT launched a party wide purge to eradicate Lee supporters and then held a membership drive to attract KMT loyalists. According to Lien, the drive was successful, but many outside observers note a significant drop in membership, as many of the former members who had joined the party as a compulsory act of conscripted military service never renewed. Lien as the Chairman of the KMT also vowed to learn from his loss and remake the KMT party. He held forums to discuss erasing the KMT's image as a corrupt institution and Lien promised to give up property seized by the KMT after the Japanese exodus. The KMT has returned some properties to the government and it considers the matter to be closed, but others disagree. Lien has been criticized for trying to give the land away to local governments as a type of payoff for support.
Lien Chan ran for president with Soong as his running mate in a combined KMT-PFP ticket against Chen Shui-bian in the 2004 Presidential elections, though it had been thought that Lien and Soong personally disliked each other. During the 2000 campaigns, Lien accused Soong of positioning his family graves to interfere with Lien's Feng Shui forcing Lien to reposition his graves.
Initially, it was believed that the Lien-Soong ticket would be a sure win, given that both men garnered a combined 59.9% of the vote in 2000. However, the lead gradually diminished to a dead heat, and both sides were forced to moderate their positions. In December 2003, Lien said that while the KMT was opposed to "immediate independence," it did not wish to be classed as "pro-reunificationist" either. The platform was changed from promoting the eventual reunification of China to preserving the status quo and leaving Taiwan's status to be settled by future generations. Chen also floated the possibility of eventual reunification.
With the platforms largely similar, the campaign was filled largely with personal attacks between Lien and Chen. On March 20, the day after President Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were shot while campaigning, Lien lost the election by 0.2% of the vote. He refused to concede and decided to challenge the results. Pan-Blue supporters staged several mass rallies in the ensuing weeks, with some gatherings turning into riots. Lien sought to nullify the election and institute a recount. The recount confirmed the result, but by a narrower margin. His appeals to cancel the result and hold new elections were rejected by the courts.
|Candidates and nominating parties||Votes||%||Votes|
|Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu
|Lien Chan and James Soong
|Total (turnout 80.28 %)||12,914,422||100.0|
In 2005, after Ma was elected as KMT chairman to succeed Lien, the KMT Central Committee offered the unprecedented title of "Chairman Emeritus" (Honorary Chairman) to Lien. Lien did not explicitly say whether he was accepting the title, but his failure to decline appears to be an implicit acceptance.
In December 2010, Lien was awarded the Confucius Peace Prize in China, which was instituted as a reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Liu Xiaobo. Lien's office said to the Taipei Times: “We’ve never heard of such an award and of course Mr Lien has no plans to accept it.” 
Some have speculated that his immense wealth was obtained through black gold. Among the allegations, his father Lien Chen-tung was the interior minister responsible of Taiwanese agricultural policy. Through his influence, the family purchased farmland in the 50's and 60's and illegally rezoned it. In an investigation by his political opponents, one DPP legislator Tang Bi-A was quoted as saying, "It is doubtful that Lien Chan and his father could accumulate billions in wealth for their family when both of them were government officials receiving limited salaries."
April 2005 breakthrough journey to mainland China
On April 26, 2005, Lien Chan traveled to mainland China to meet with the leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC). His meeting with CPC leader Hu Jintao was the highest level exchange since Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong met in Chongqing on August 28, 1945, to celebrate the victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and discuss a possible truce in the impending Chinese Civil War.
On the afternoon of April 29, he met with President of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao (in his capacity as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) and they reached a 5-point consensus, reaffirming that Taiwan is part of China and that the two parties would work together to prevent formal Taiwan independence.
Before meeting with Hu on April 29, Lien Chan delivered a speech at Peking University, which his 96-year-old mother Chao Lan-k'un attended nearly 80 years ago. On April 30, he headed to his birthplace Xi'an. He revisited Houzaimen Primary School, which he attended 60 years ago. He also visited the Great Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor. Early on May 1, he paid homage to his grandmother's tomb near Qingliangsi.
Later that day, Lien arrived in Shanghai, where he attended a banquet hosted by Shanghai CPC Party Secretary General Chen Liangyu. On May 2, he met with Wang Daohan, the 90-year-old chairman of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and the representatives of Taiwanese businesspeople. He returned to Taiwan at noon on May 3.
October 2005 visit to Shenyang
In October 2005, Lien made his second visit to the mainland. He visited Shenyang, Liaoning to pay homage to his maternal grandmother's tomb at Lansheng Village and the school where his mother studied. He also visited the 9.18 Historical Museum to commemorate the Mukden Incident in the Republic of China.
2006 visit to Mainland China
On 11 April 2006, Lien arrived in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. He was welcomed by Xia Baolong, deputy secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport. In Hangzhou, Lien met with provincial government leaders and visited the West Lake.
Two days later, Lien visited Beijing to attend the first Cross-Straits Economic Trade and Culture Forum. Lien met with CPC Secretary-General Hu Jintao at the forum, where both underscored the peaceful development of relations between the two sides.
2010 visit to Shanghai
2013 visit to Beijing
In February 2013, Lien visited Beijing to meet with Xi Jinping, the newly elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Lien pronounced a new "16-character principle" for cross-strait relations, which are one China (一個中國), cross-strait peace (兩岸和平), mutually beneficial integration (互利融合) and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation (振興中華). This was unpopular and 'controversial' in Taiwan and criticized for being 'treacherous' to the Taiwanese people, and President Ma has distanced from this statement by saying this is 'absolutely Mr. Lien’s personal view.'
Lien also met with Yu Zhengsheng (chairman-designate of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), Wang Huning (member of the Politburo of the CPC), Li Zhanshu (chief of the General Office of the CPC), Dai Bingguo (state councilor of the PRC), Wang Yi (director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council), Chen Yunlin and Zheng Lizhong (president and vice president of ARATS).
2014 visit to Beijing
Lien and delegates from 80 business leaders and civil group representatives, including former Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Shu Chin-chiang, visited Beijing on 17 February to meet with Zhang Zhijun, the head of Taiwan Affairs Office, and on 18 February with Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse for non-governmental exchanges. This 3-day trip came after the invitation from the Communist Party of China.
During his meeting with Xi, Lien said that the KMT and CPC should make cross-strait relations to progress under the One-China Framework (一中架構).
2015 visit to Beijing
Lien was invited to a Chinese military parade marking the end of the Second Sino–Japanese War in September 2015. Despite drawing criticism from both the Kuomintang and Democratic Progressive Party, Lien decided to go, saying that he intended to promote a stronger Cross-Strait relationship. During the visit, Lien asked Beijing to strongly consider supporting ROC President Ma Ying-jeou's East China Sea Peace Initiative. However, Lien's comments on the Communist role in the war against Japan were directly condemned by the Ma administration. The day after Lien's 3 September return from China, Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu stated that the party would review Lien's visit. The DPP's Annette Lu and Chou Ni-an of the Taiwan Solidarity Union filed separate charges of treason against Lien with the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office. Two separate incidents also showed public displeasure with his visit. On September 5, a celebration of Lien's birthday and wedding anniversary were disrupted by protesters and in Tainan, a statue of Lien's grandfather Lien Ya-tang was vandalized.
His family name is Lien; his given name is Chan. "Chan" means "battles" and his full name literally means "successive battles." The name originated from Lien Heng who, sick with liver cancer in Shanghai, wrote to his pregnant daughter-in-law in Xi'an:
- "China and Japan will battle inevitably. If the child born is a boy, name him Lien Chan, signifying that the strength coming from within oneself will never diminish and can overcome the enemies and be victorious. It also has the meaning of reviving the former nation, reorganizing the light and hope of our homeland." (『中、日必將一戰，如生男則名連戰，寓有自強不息，克敵制勝，有復興故國、重整家園光明希望。』)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lien Chan.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Lien Chan|
- Politics of the Republic of China
- Elections in the Republic of China
- History of the Republic of China
- Administrative divisions of the Republic of China
- Political status of Taiwan
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| Chair of National Youth Commission
| Ministry of Transportation and Communications
| Vice Premier of the Republic of China
| Minister of Foreign Affairs
| Governor of Taiwan Province
| Premier of the Republic of China
| Vice President of the Republic of China
|Party political offices|
| Kuomintang nominee for President of the Republic of China
| Leader of the Kuomintang|