The Man Who Changed the KMT

(Photo courtesy of FANG PIN-CHAO, Taipei Times, dated to March 13, 2004)  KMT Chairman Lien Chan, center, his wife Lien Fang Yu, and KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng kiss the land to show their love for Taiwan during a campaign rally held in Taipei City yesterday afternoon.
(Photo courtesy of FANG PIN-CHAO, Taipei Times, dated to March 13, 2004)
The event, which took place throughout the nation’s 25 cities and counties, climaxed when the alliance’s presidential candidate, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), made a dramatic gesture in Taipei and prostrated himself, kissing the ground alongside his wife Lien Fang-Yu (連方瑀) and KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-Cheng (林豐正) in front of the Presidential Office.

Lien said the move was meant to demonstrate his love for Taiwan.

Lien Chan has served as Chairman under the KMT from 2000 – 2005.

The name originated from Lien Heng (known for his writing, “The General History of Taiwan“)who, sick with liver cancer during his stay 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。』)

Everyone is “on pins and needles” with the issue of the “Taiwan Strait,” no matter which side one is speaking from.  Lets look at the man who has been the head and Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) party for so many years, Lien Chan (連戰).  Believing that “Taiwan should seize the chance,” he says, “In such a situation, Taiwan would suffer a serious negative impact if it keeps a close mind.”  Before we dissect and look into what he’s said (the opportunity), lets first look at what got him there.

What environment and family did he come from?

How did he enter the KMT party?

What influence did he have as a Chairman?

List of the Chairman’s actions…


Environment:

Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, most recognized landmark of Xi-An, China.

Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, the most recognized and visited landmark of Xi-An, China.

Born in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China as an only child to Lien Chen-Tung (連震東) and Chao Lan-K’un (趙蘭坤), he was not considered  member of the “Mainlander group in Taiwan” due to his Taiwanese familial roots.

Lien earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science (in 1957), and a Master of Arts in International Law and Diplomacy (in 1961) from National Taiwan University (NTU).  Continuing his education in the University of Chicago (where he received a Ph.D. in political science in 1965), married former Miss ROC (Taiwan), Fang Yui.

Returning to Taiwan in 1968 as a visiting professor of political science in NTU, he as well served as Chairman of the Political Science Department and Dean of the Graduate Institute of Political Science the following year.

Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (R) delivers a speech as his wife Lien Fang-yu (C) applauds after an ancestor worship ceremony at Liens Ancestral Hall at Maqi Village in Zhangzhou, a city in southeast Chinas Fujian Province on April 19, 2006. Liens ancestors lived in Maqi Village and moved to Taiwan in 1628. Lien Chan and his family members worshipped ancestors at his hometown of Maqi Village.

Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (R) delivers a speech as his wife Lien Fang-yu (C) applauds after an ancestor worship ceremony at Lien's Ancestral Hall at Maqi Village in Zhangzhou, a city in southeast China's Fujian Province on April 19, 2006. Lien's ancestors lived in Maqi Village and moved to Taiwan in 1628. Lien Chan and his family members worshipped ancestors at his hometown of Maqi Village.

The Father: His father, Lien Chen-Tung, bought their first piece of land in 1949, currently recognized as the site of the second hall of the Idee Department Store in Nan-Jing West Road, Taipei.  Documents prove that in the year prior to the land purchase, the KMT government had nationalized the property as early as 1950, having transferred over to Lien [father] in 1951.  This land, unfolded a series of scandals later on, which had been investigated by former Taipei mayor (at the time), Chen Shui-Bian (陳水扁).  Along to the property, the family had illegally purchased farming land, used for commerical purpouses.  In 1961, Lien [father] used the same method in purchasing another piece of land (within the same area), completing the land recategorization only five years later, in 1966.

The father is not alone in scandalous land-purchases, the oldest daughter, Lien Hui-Hsin (連惠心) was documented at the age of two having purchased (another) farmland in the Shih-Lin District in 1959 when Lien [father] was studying in the United States, later changed into building land in 1972.  According to the Agriculture Development Act (ADA, 農業發展條例), only the people who are able to cultivate the land are eligible to buy farming land was not passed until 1973, the previous Land Law (土地法), passed in 1930 held equivalent regulations on farmland purchases.

The calling to move back to Taiwan and family’s list of properties (shooting the family’s wealth into Taiwan’s 11th place), molded his fate into a political career.

(Photo courtesy of Xinhua)  Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (R) talks with Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan at a banquet in Xiamen, southeast Chinas Fujian Province, Oct. 18, 2006. Wu held the banquet Wednesday night in honor of the representatives of the Cross-strait Agricultural Cooperation Trade Fair.

(Photo courtesy of Xinhua) Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (R) talks with Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan at a banquet in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Oct. 18, 2006. Wu held the banquet Wednesday night in honor of the representatives of the Cross-strait Agricultural Cooperation Trade Fair.

Enter, the KMT:

The social and political climb started when he served as an Ambassador to El Salvador (1975 – 1976); to Minister of Communications and Transportation (in 1981 – 1987); then promoted as the position many remember him for, Vice Premier (in 1987 – 1988); to Foreign Minister (in 1988 – 1990); to a powerful and influential position as Governor of Taiwan Province (in 1990 – 1993) and finally appointed in 1993 as Premier of the Republic of China (ROC, or Taiwan).

Former President, *Lee Teng-Hui appointed Lien as Vice President in 1996 while retaining premiership.  Dual positions lead to an unpopular image among the people while opposition parties claimed that this action is 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.”  Wisely following advice of the Council, he stepped down as Premier in 1997, but held his Vice Presidency status.

Lien was a Vice Chairman to the KMT party (1993 – 2000) and held membership to the Central Committee within equal time period (1984 – 2000).  His term as Vice President could not help boost his popularity and remained under the image as being arrogant, aloof and out of touch with the public.  This was the start of a trend, unrolling before himself down the years, even to present time.  His father, Lien Cheng-Tung, held position as the Interior Minister of the Taiwanese Agriculture Policy and through his influence, the family made further farmland purchase (throughout the 1950’s and 60’s), then illegally rezoning them.  Quoting a DPP Legislator, Tang Bi-A, “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.”  The Lien family was already within Taiwan’s top wealthiest, recognized people.

Visiting Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party of China Lien Chan delivers a speech upon his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport Thursday April 28, 2005. Lien said it is the common aspiration of the people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to build a peaceful and win-win future.[newsphoto]

Visiting Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party of China Lien Chan delivers a speech upon his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport Thursday April 28, 2005. Lien said it is the "common aspiration" of the people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to build a peaceful and win-win future. (newsphoto)

Influence As A Chairman:

After KMT’s political defeat in 2000 with Chen Shui-Bian’s presidency, Lien assumed leadership in the KMT and in following, adopted a platform to erase the Lee effect from Taiwan and Return to the Good Old Days,” a call to return to the rule of Chiang Ching-Kuo.  The party launched a support to eradicate Lee supporters, and held membership to drive to attack KMT loyalists.  This action followed a drop in membership as many of the former members as a compulsory act of conscripted military service never renewed.  Lien, now a Chairman, held forums in discussion of erasing the KMT’s image as a corrupt institution and promised to release property seized by the party following the Japanese exodus.

The forums changed the image of the KMTs forever: there is now a friendlier KMT party, one that would attempt to listen to the public voice.

Having returned properties to the government, the scandal still did not leave the hearts of the damaged.  People believed and criticized that Lien was freely submitting the land to local governments as a form of payoff in exchange for political support.  In the 44-member City Council, the KMT party holds the largest number of 11 seats, the DPP 9 seats, the TSU (Taiwan Solidarity Union) 5 seats, and the PFP (People First Party) 3 seats.  The other 16 seats are held by the Independents.

(Photo courtesy of daylife)  Lien Chan (L) former chairman of the Kuomintang party (KMT) meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on April, 29, 2008. Lien Chan flew to China on April 28 for a nine-day trip. Lien met Hu, the fourth meeting between the two since his historic trip to the mainland in 2005.

(Photo courtesy of daylife) Lien Chan (L) former chairman of the Kuomintang party (KMT) meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on April, 29, 2008. Lien Chan flew to China on April 28 for a nine-day trip. Lien met Hu, the fourth meeting between the two since his historic trip to the mainland in 2005.

Actions That Speak Louder Than Words:

April 26, 2005, Lien Chan traveled back to China, meeting with the Communist Party of China (CPC) heavyweights, such as CPC leader, Hu Jin-Tao.  The meeting is recognized as the greatest level of exchange since Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Ze-Dong‘s meting in Chong-Qing (August 28, 1945), in celebration of victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and discussed a possible compromise in the [then] impending Chinese Civil War.  April 29th of the same year, Lien presented a speech at Beijing University and met with China’s President, Hu Jin-Tao, reaching the ever unforgettable “5-point Consensus, reaffirming that Taiwan is part of China and that the two parties would work together to ‘prevent Taiwan independence.’

In Peru, President Ma Ying-Jeou hand-selected Lien as a special envoy in representing Taiwan, participating as “Chinese Taipei” at the APEC in 2008.  With this status, he was able to make a second visit with Hu, known as the “highest level of official exchange betweent eh Mainland and Taiwan on the international stage.”

THE Talks on November 21, 2008 and Beyond…

On November 21, 2008, Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and his wife Liu Yongqing met in Lima with Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan and his wife Lien Fang-yu.

On November 21, 2008, Hu Jin-Tao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and his wife Liu Yong-Qing met in Lima with Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan and his wife Lien Fang-Yu.

“You are our old friend and I am very glad to meet you again today,” President Hu said, directed to Lien. In the meeting, Hu spoke highly of Lien’s many contributions and efforts in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations that KMT and China, together, have so long desired.

Hu, in noting the current cross-Strait ties, mentioned the registered sound development, and the four agreements having been signed by (China’s) Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) during its visit with the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).  SEF is responsible for the newly direct shipping and flights, postal services and food safety, and for having brought substantial benefits to compatriots in either side of the Taiwan Straits.  Success of the visit indicates development of [cross-Strait] relations in turning over a new leaf and into an admirable perspective.  Hu adds that through enhancing exchanges and cooperation shall greater ignite the common aspiration and the general trend.

Hu calls the compatriots of both sides of the Strait are one family: It is within this crucial moment that both sides should embark on communication and through cooperate in trade and like economic cooperation, turn challenges into opportunities.

In delight of a rare second visit, Lien referred the current meeting as an indication of further development and growing cooperation and adds that the greater Taiwanese are excited and welcome the agreements.  He continues, agreeing with Hu: contributing to global economic growth should be successful with equal compliance.

What Lays Beyond ‘The Talks,’ the opportunity :

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Hu Jintao (R) holds a meeting with Lien Chan, Honorary Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), on Tuesday afternoon in Beijing.  [Photo, courtesy of Xinhua]

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Hu Jintao (R) holds a meeting with Lien Chan, Honorary Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), on Tuesday afternoon in Beijing. (Photo, courtesy of Xinhua}

Hu, from a meeting in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in central Beijing, he fondly recalls the original meeting with Lien that had taken place nearly four years ago: the first official summit between the CPC and the KMT in the past 60 years.  Hu called for resuming the talks on basis of the “1992 Consensus” as early as possible in resolving issues within a practical manner.

“The Chinese nationality will realize a bright future in its great rejuvenation, a common glory for the compatriots of the two banks,” said Hu, adding that by compatriots sharing the same fate, we all belong to the same big family of the Chinese nationality.

Having attended a Legislative Yuan committee meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francisco Ou was in high hopes of Taiwan’s intention to join the WHA or  the World Health Organization where he and Lien (representing President Ma Ying-Jeou) met at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) informal summit in Peru in late November 2008.  Since Ma’s Presidential inauguration and the historic discussion on the Taiwan Straight, the United States has been encouraging in relations, the U.N. is one step closer to recognizing the ROC, and China offered their historical first offering to Taiwan: Pandas.

(Photo courtesy of China Newsphoto/Reuters/Corbis)  Lien Chan, the honorary chairman of the Taiwanese KMT party, and his wife visit a panda research centre during a tour of mainland China in October.  China offered a pair of pandas as a gift to Taiwan.

(Photo courtesy of China Newsphoto/Reuters/Corbis) Lien Chan, the honorary chairman of the Taiwanese KMT party, and his wife visit a panda research centre during a tour of mainland China in October. China offered a pair of pandas as a gift to Taiwan.

Lien asked if there were chances for Taiwan to join the U.N.-affiliated organization, the Foreign Minister complimented Lien as “persuasive” and have since, been on friendly terms with the Chinese president.  Ou states that Taiwan has a 60% of chance in succeeding, particularly in view of a long period of preparations the people have have before the WHA convenes in May (of this year).

“People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are pleased with the mainland’s decision to donate a pair of pandas to Taiwan compatriots,” Lien said soon after the annoucement by Chen Yun-Lin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of CPC Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

trade and tourism to avert crisis.

(photo courtesy of AsiaNews) China-Taiwan dialogue resumes: trade and tourism to avert crisis.

Globalizing through China:

Thanking on behalf of Taiwan, Lien addressed, “People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are pleased with the mainland’s decision to donate a pair of pandas to Taiwan compatriots.”

Lien as well welcomed China’s decision in expanding the access of Taiwan’s agriculture to 18 species – from the current 12, and exempting tariff on (minimum) 10 species of Taiwan fruitsThis is of great significance to the farmers and agriculture industry, in Central and Southern Taiwan.  Since the decision to allow straight flights, sightseeing tours is another “epoch-making” movement for the both sides: the welcoming of Mainland Chinese tourists to the island.

“We all witnessed how tourists from the mainland have helped boost the economic recovery in Hong Kong after the travel go-aheadwas given years ago.” comments Lien on the subject of Chinese tourism in Taiwan,  “Almost all the world’s major countries have placed great importance on the mainland, viewing it as an important place to improve competitiveness and expand markets.”

“In such a situation, Taiwan would suffer a serious negative impact if it keeps a closed mind,” he said, adding that now is a crucial time to “seize the market and business opportunities, and a way out” on China.

A recommended read, from the Institute for National Policy Research, titled: A New Beginning for Taiwan-China Relations?

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~ by Lan on 2008 ThuUTC2009-01-22T15:35:09+00:00. 15.

2 Responses to “The Man Who Changed the KMT”

  1. Nice Blog….

  2. Great trip, story, and especially photos! Thanks for taking the time to share.

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